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Author of "The Leavenworth Case," "The Millionaire 
Baby," "The House of the Whispering Pines." 




Copyright, 1911, 

Copyright, 1911, 

Published, September, 1911 

















OLD AGE 122 


HEART 129 








PART 153 

XVIII WHAT AM I TO Do Now? .... 170 







XXIII DORIS ;. .. ; -. 205 






XXIX Do You KNOW MY BROTHER? . . . 253 













XLII AT Six . . .352 



" A remarkable man! " 

It was not my husband speaking, but some pas- 
serby. However, I looked up at George with a smile, 
and found him looking down at me with much the 
same humour. We had often spoken of the odd 
phrases one hears in the street, and how interesting it 
would be sometimes to hear a little more of the con- 

" That's a case in point," he laughed, as he guided 
me through the crowd of theatre-goers which inva- 
riably block this part of Broadway at the hour of 
eight. " We shall never know whose eulogy we have 
just heard. * A remarkable man ! ' There are not 
many of them." 

" No," was my somewhat indifferent reply. It 
was a keen winter night and snow was packed upon 
the walks in a way to throw into sharp relief the fig- 
ures of such pedestrians as happened to be walking 
alone. " But it seems to me that, so far as general 
appearance goes, the one in front answers your de- 
scription most admirably." 

I pointed to a man hurrying around the corner just 
ahead of us. 

" Yes, he's remarkably well built. I noticed him 
when he came out of the Clermont." This was a 
hotel we had just passed. 


" But it's not only that. It's his height, his very 
striking features, his expression " I stopped sud- 
denly, gripping George's arm convulsively in a sur- 
prise he appeared to share. We had turned the 
corner immediately behind the man of whom we 
were speaking and so had him still in full view. 

"What's he doing?" I asked, in a low whisper. 
We were only a few feet behind. "Look! look! 
don't you call that curious? " 

My husband stared, then uttered a low, " Rather." 
The man ahead of us, presenting in every respect 
the appearance of a gentleman, had suddenly stooped 
to the kerb and was washing his hands in the snow, 
furtively, but with a vigour and purpose which could 
not fail to arouse the strangest conjectures in any 
chance onlooker. 

" Pilate ! " escaped my lips, in a sort of nervous 
chuckle. But George shook his head at me. 

" I don't like it," he muttered, with unusual grav- 
ity. "Did you see his face?" Then as the man 
rose and hurried away from us down the street, " I 
should like to follow him. I do believe " 

But here we became aware of a quick rush and 
sudden clamour around the corner we had just left, 
and turning quickly, saw that something had occurred 
on Broadway which was fast causing a tumult. 

"What's the matter?" I cried. "What can 
have happened? Let's go see, George. Perhaps it 
has something to do with our man." 

My husband, with a final glance down the street 
at the fast disappearing figure, yielded to my impor- 
tunity, and possibly to some new curiosity of his own. 


" I'd like to stop that man first," said he. " But 
what excuse have I? He may be nothing but a 
crank, with some crack-brained idea in his head. 
We'll soon know; for there's certainly something 
wrong there on Broadway." 

" He came out of the Clermont," I suggested. 

" I know. If the excitement isn't there, what 
weVe just seen is simply a coincidence." Then, as 
we retraced our steps to the corner "Whatever 
we hear or see, don't say anything about this man. 
It's after eight, remember, and we promised Adela 
that we would be at the house before nine." 

" I'll be quiet." 

" Remember." 

It was the last word he had time to speak before 
we found ourselves in the midst of a crowd of men 
and women, jostling one another in curiosity or in 
the consternation following a quick alarm. All 
were looking one way, and, as this was towards the 
entrance of the Clermont, it was evident enough to 
us that the alarm had indeed had its origin in the 
very place we had anticipated. I felt my husband's 
arm press me closer to his side as we worked our way 
towards the entrance, and presently caught a warn- 
ing sound from his lips as the oaths and confused 
cries everywhere surrounding us were broken here 
and there by articulate words and we heard: 

"Is it murder?" 

" The beautiful Miss Challoner! " 

" A millionairess in her own right! " 

" Killed, they say." 

"No, no! suddenly dead; that's all." 


" George, what shall we do? " I managed to cry 
into my husband's ear. 

" Get out of this. There is no chance of our 
reaching that door, and I can't have you standing 
round any longer in this icy slush." 

"But but is it right?" I urged, in an impor- 
tunate whisper. " Should we go home while he " 

"Hush! My first duty is to you. We will go 
make our visit; but to-morrow " 

" I can't wait till to-morrow," I pleaded, wild to 
satisfy my curiosity in regard to an event in which I 
naturally felt a keen personal interest. 

He drew me as near to the edge of the crowd as 
he could. There were new murmurs all about us. 

" If it's a case of heart-failure, why send for the 
police? " asked one. 

" It is better to have an officer or two here," 
grumbled another. 

" Here comes a cop." 

" Well, I'm going to vamoose." 

" I'll tell you what I'll do," whispered George, 
who, for all his bluster was as curious as myself. 
" We will try the rear door where there are fewer 
persons. Possibly we can make our way in there, 
and if we can, Slater will tell us all we want to 

Slater was the assistant manager of the Clermont, 
and one of George's oldest friends. 

" Then hurry," said I. " I am being crushed 

George did hurry, and in a few minutes we were 
before the rear entrance of the great hotel. There 


was a mob gathered here also, but it was neither so 
large nor so rough as the one on Broadway. Yet I 
doubt if we should have been able to work our way 
through it if Slater had not, at that very instant, 
shown himself in the doorway, in company with an 
officer to whom he was giving some final instruc- 
tions. George caught his eye as soon as he was 
through with the man, and ventured on what I 
thought a rather uncalled for plea. 

" Let us in, Slater," he begged. " My wife feels 
a little faint ; she has been knocked about so by the 

The manager glanced at my face, and shouted to 
the people around us to make room. I felt myself 
lifted up, and that is all I remember of this part of 
our adventure. For, affected more than I realised 
by the excitement of the event, I no sooner saw the 
way cleared for our entrance than I made good my 
husband's words by fainting away in earnest. 

When I came to, it was suddenly and with perfect 
recognition of my surroundings. The small recep- 
tion room to which I had been taken was one I had 
often visited, and its familiar features did not hold 
my attention for a moment. What I did see and 
welcome was my husband's face bending close over 
me, and to him I spoke first. My words must have 
sounded oddly to those about. " Have they told you 
anything about it? " I asked. " Did he " 

A quick pressure on my arm silenced me, and then 
I noticed that we were not alone. Two or three 
ladies stood near, watching me, and one had evi- 
dently been using some restorative, for she held a 


small vinaigrette in her hand. To this lady, George 
made haste to introduce me, and from her I pres- 
ently learned the cause of the disturbance in the hotel. 

It was of a somewhat different nature from what 
I expected, and during the recital, I could not prevent 
myself from casting furtive and inquiring glances at 

Edith, the well-known daughter of Moses Chal- 
loner, had fallen suddenly dead on the floor of the 
mezzanine. She was not known to have been in 
poor health, still less in danger of a fatal attack, 
and the shock was consequently great to her friends, 
several of whom were in the building. Indeed, it 
was likely to prove a shock to the whole community, 
for she had great claims to general admiration, and 
her death must be regarded as a calamity to persons 
in all stations of life. 

I realised this myself, for I had heard much of the 
young lady's private virtues, as well as of her great 
beauty and distinguished manner. A heavy loss, in- 
deed, but 

" Was she alone when she fell? " I asked. 

" Virtually alone. Some persons sat on the other 
side of the room, reading at the big round table. 
They did not even hear her fall. They say that the 
band was playing unusually loud in the musicians' 

" Are you feeling quite well, now? " 

" Quite myself," I gratefully replied as I rose 
slowly from the sofa. Then, as my kind informer 
stepped aside, I turned to George with the proposal 
that we should go now. 


He seemed as anxious as myself to leave, and to- 
gether we moved towards the door, while the hum of 
excited comment which the intrusion of a fainting, 
woman had undoubtedly interrupted, recommenced 
behind us till the whole room buzzed. 

In the hall we encountered Mr. Slater, whom I 
have before mentioned. He was trying to maintain 
order while himself in a state of great agitation. 
Seeing us, he could not refrain from whispering a 
few words into my husband's ear. 

' The doctor has just gone up her doctor, I 
mean. He's simply dumbfounded. Says that she 
was the healthiest woman in New York yesterday. 
I think don't mention it, that he suspects some- 
thing quite different from heart failure." 

' What do you mean?" asked George, following 
the assistant manager down the broad flight of steps 
leading to the office. Then, as I pressed up close 
to Mr. Slater's other side, " She was by herself, 
wasn't she, in the half floor above? " 

1 Yes, and had been writing a letter. She fell 
with it still in her hand." 

" Have they carried her to her room? " I eagerly 
inquired, glancing fearfully up at the large semi-cir- 
cular openings overlooking us from the place where 
she had fallen. 

" Not yet. Mr. Hammond insists upon waiting 
for the coroner." (Mr. Hammond was the pro- 
prietor of the hotel.) "She is lying on one of the 
big couches near which she fell. If you like, I can 
give you a glimpse of her. She looks beautiful. 
It's terrible to think that she is dead." 


I don't know why we consented. We were under 
a spell, I think. At all events, we accepted his offer 
and followed him up a narrow staircase open to very 
few that night. At the top, he turned upon us with 
a warning gesture which I hardly think we needed, 
and led us down a narrow hall flanked by openings 
corresponding to those we had noted from below. 
At the furthest one he paused and, beckoning us to 
his side, pointed across the lobby into the large writ- 
ing-room which occupied the better part of the mez- 
zanine floor. 

We saw people standing in various attitudes of 
grief and dismay about a couch, one end of which 
only was visible to us at the moment. The doctor 
had just joined them, and every head was turned 
towards him and every body bent ^orward in anxious 
expectation. I remember the face of one grey haired 
old man. I shall never forget it. He was prob- 
ably her father. Later, I knew him to be so. Her 
face, even her form, was entirely hidden from us, 
but as we watched (I have often thought with what 
heartless curiosity) a sudden movement took place 
in the whole group < and for one instant a startling 
picture presented itself to our gaze. Miss Challoner 
was stretched out upon the couch. She was dressed 
as she came from dinner, in a gown of ivory-tinted 
satin, relieved at the breast by a large bouquet of 
scarlet poinsettias. I mention this adornment, be- 
cause it was what first met and drew our eyes and 
the eyes of every one about her, though the face, 
now quite revealed, would seem to have the greater 
attraction. But the cause was evident and one not 


to be resisted. The doctor was pointing at these 
poinsettias in horror and with awful meaning, and 
though we could not hear his words, we knew almost 
instinctively, both from his attitude and the cries 
which burst from the lips of those about him, that 
something more than broken petals and disordered 
laces had met his eyes ; that blood was there slowly 
oozing drops from the heart which for some rea- 
son had escaped all eyes till now. 

Miss Challoner was dead, not from unsuspected 
disease, but from the violent attack of some murder- 
ous weapon. As the realisation of this brought fresh 
panic and bowed the old father's head with emotions 
even more bitter than those of grief, I turned a ques- 
tioning look up at George's face. 

It was fixed with a purpose I had no trouble in 



YET he made no effort to detain Mr. Slater, when 
that gentleman, under this renewed excitement, has- 
tily left us. He-was not the man to rush into any- 
thing impulsively, and not even the presence of mur- 
der could change his ways. 

" I want to feel sure of myself," he explained. 
" Can you bear the strain of waiting around a little 
longer, Laura? I mustn't forget that you fainted 
just now." 

" Yes, I can bear it; much better than I could bear 
going to Adela's in my present state of mind. Don't 
you think the man we saw had something to do with 
this? Don't you believe " 

" Hush ! Let us listen rather than talk. What 
are they saying over there? Can you hear? " 

" No. And I cannot bear to look. Yet I don't 
want to go away. It's all so dreadful." 

" It's devilish. Such a beautiful girl ! Laura, I 
must leave you for a moment. Do you mind? " 

"No, no; yet " 

I did mind; but he was gone before I could take 
back my word. Alone, I felt the tragedy much 
more than when he was with me. Instead of watch- 
ing, as I had hitherto done, every movement in the 
room opposite, I drew back against the wall and hid 
my eyes, waiting feverishly for George's return. 



He came, when he did come, in some haste and 
with certain marks of increased agitation. 

" Laura," said he, " Slater says that we may pos- 
sibly be wanted and proposes that we stay here all 
night* I have telephoned Adela and have made it 
all right at home. Will you come to your room? 
This is no place for you." 

Nothing could have pleased me better ; to be near 
and yet not the direct observer of proceedings in 
which we took so secret an interest! I showed my 
gratitude by following George immediately. But I 
could not go without casting another glance at the 
tragic scene I was leaving. A stir was perceptible 
there, and I was just in time to see its cause. A tall, 
angular gentleman was approaching from the direc- 
tion of the musicians' gallery, and from the manner 
of all present, as well as from the whispered com- 
ment of my husband, I recognised in him the special 
official for whom all had been waiting. 

" Are you going to tell him? " was my question to 
George as we made our way down to the lobby. 

' That depends. First, I am going to see you 
settled in a room quite remote from this business." 

" I shall not like that." 

" I know, my dear, but it is best." 

I could not gainsay this. 

Nevertheless, after the first few minutes of relief, 
I found it very lonesome upstairs. The pictures 
which crowded upon me of the various groups of 
excited and wildly-gesticulating men and women 
through which we had passed on our way up, min- 
gled themselves with the solemn horror of the scene 


in the writing-room, with its fleeting vision of youth 
and beauty lying pulseless in sudden death. I 
could not escape the one without feeling the imme- 
diate impress of the other, and if by chance they 
both yielded for an instant to that earlier scene of a 
desolate street, with its solitary lamp shining down 
on the crouched figure of a man washing his shak- 
ing hands in a drift of freshly fallen snow, they im- 
mediately rushed back with a force and clearness all 
the greater for the momentary lapse. 

I was still struggling with these fancies when the 
door opened, and George came in. There was news 
in his face as I rushed to meet him. 

"Tell me tell," I begged. 

He tried to smile at my eagerness, but the attempt 
was ghastly. 

" I've been listening and looking," said he, " and 
this is all I have learned. Miss Challoner died, not 
from a stroke or from disease of any kind, but from 
a wound reaching the heart. No one saw the at- 
tack, or even the approach or departure of the per- 
son inflicting this wound. If she was killed by a 
pistol-shot, it was at a distance, and almost over the 
heads of the persons sitting at the table we saw there. 
But the doctors shake their heads at the word pistol- 
shot, though they refuse to explain themselves or to 
express any opinion till the wound has been probed. 
This they are going to do at once, and when that 
question is decided, I may feel it my duty to speak 
and may ask you to support my story." 

" I will tell what I saw," said I. 

" Very good. That is all that will be required. 

" I KNOW THE MAN " 13 

We are strangers to the parties concerned, and only 
speak from a sense of justice. It may be that our 
story will make no impression, and that we shall be 
dismissed with but few thanks. But that is nothing 
to us. If the woman has been murdered, he is the 
murderer. With such a conviction in my mind, there 
can be no doubt as to my duty." 

" We can never make them understand how he 

" No. I don't expect to." 

" Or his manner as he fled." 

" Nor that either." 
' We can only describe what we saw him do." 

" That's all." 

" Oh, what an adventure for quiet people like us 1 
George, I don't believe he shot her." 

" He must have." 

" But they would have seen have heard the 
people around, I mean." 

" So they say; but I have a theory but no mat- 
ter about that now. I'm going down again to see 
how things have progressed. I'll be back for you 
later. Only be ready." 

Be ready! I almost laughed, a hysterical 
laugh, of course, when I recalled the injunction. Be 
ready! This lonely sitting by myself, with nothing 
to do but think was a fine preparation for a sudden 
appearance before those men some of them police- 
officers, no doubt. 

But that's enough about myself; I'm not the hero- 
ine of this story. In a half hour or an hour > 
I never knew which George reappeared, only to 


tell me that no conclusions had as yet been reached; 
an element of great mystery involved the whole 
affair, and the most astute detectives on the force had 
been sent for. Her father, who had been her con- 
stant companion all winter, had not the least sugges- 
tion to offer in way of its solution. So far as he 
knew and he believed himself to have been in per- 
fect accord with his daughter she had injured no 
one. She had just lived the even, happy and useful 
life of a young woman of means, who sees duties be- 
yond those of her own household and immediate sur- 
roundings. If, in the fulfillment of those duties, 
she had encountered any obstacle to content, he did 
not know it; nor could he mention a friend of hers 
he would even say lovers, since that was what he 
meant who to his knowledge could be accused of 
harbouring any such passion of revenge as was man- 
ifested in this secret and diabolical attack. They were 
all gentlemen and respected her as heartily as they 
appeared to admire her. To no living being, man 
or woman, could he point as possessing any motive 
for such a deed. She had been the victim of some 
mistake, his lovely and ever kindly disposed daugh- 
ter, and while the loss was irreparable he would never 
make it unendurable by thinking otherwise. 

Such was the father's way of looking at the mat- 
ter, and I own that it made our duty a trifle hard. 
But George's mind, when once made up, was per- 
sistent to the point of obstinacy, and while he was 
yet talking he led me out of the room and down the 
hall to the elevator. 

" Mr. Slater knows we have something to say, 


and will manage the interview before us in the very 
best manner," he confided to me now with an en- 
couraging air. ' We are to go to the blue reception 
room on the parlour floor." 

I nodded, and nothing more was said till we en- 
tered the place mentioned. Here we came upon 
several gentlemen, standing about, of a more or less 
professional appearance. This was not very agree- 
able to one of my retiring disposition, but a took 
from George brought back my courage, and I found 
myself waiting rather anxiously for the questions I 
expected to hear put. 

Mr. Slater was there according to his promise, 
and after introducing us, briefly stated that we had 
some evidence to give regarding the terrible occur- 
rence which had just taken place in the house. 

George bowed, and the chief spokesman I am 
sure he was a police-officer of some kind asked 
him to tell what it was. 

George drew himself up George is not one of 
your tall men, but he makes a very good appearance 
at times. Then he seemed suddenly to collapse. 
The sight of their expectation made him feel how 
flat and childish his story would sound. I, who had 
shared his adventure, understood his embarrassment, 
but the others were evidently at a loss to do so, for 
they glanced askance at each other as he hesitated, 
and only looked back when I ventured to say : 

" It's the peculiarity of the occurrence which af- 
fects my husband. The thing we saw may mean 

" Let us hear what it was and we will judge." 


Then my husband spoke up, and related our little 
experience. If it did not create a sensation, it was 
because these men were well accustomed to surprises 
of all kinds. 

" Washed his hands a gentleman out there 
in the snow just after the alarm was raised here? " 
repeated one. 

" And you saw him come out of this house? " an- 
other put in. 

' Yes, sir; we noticed him particularly." 

" Can you describe him? " 

It was Mr. Slater who put this question; he had 
less control over himself, and considerable eagerness 
could be heard in his voice. 

" He was a very fine-looking man; unusually tall 
and unusually striking both in his dress and appear- 
ance. What I could see of his face was bare of 
beard, and very expressive. He walked with the 
swing of an athlete, and only looked mean and small 
when he was stooping and dabbling in the snow." 

" His clothes. Describe his clothes." There was 
an odd sound in Mr. Slater's voice. 

" He wore a silk hat and there was fur on his 
overcoat. I think the fur was black." 

Mr. Slater stepped back, then moved forward 
again with a determined air. 

" I know the man," said he. 



" You know the man? " 

"I do ; or rather, I know a man who answers to 
this description. He comes here once in a while. I 
do not know whether or not he was in the building 
to-night, but Clausen can tell you; no one escapes 
Clausen's eye." 

" His name." 

" Brotherson. A very uncommon person in many 
respects ; quite capable of such an eccentricity, but in- 
capable, I should say, of crime. He's a gifted talker 
and so well read that he can hold one's attention for 
hours. Of his tastes, I can only say that they appear 
to be mainly scientific. But he is not averse to so- 
ciety, and is always very well dressed." 

" A taste for science and for fine clothing do not 
often go together." 

" This man is an exception to all rules. The one 
I'm speaking of, I mean. I don't say that he's the 
fellow seen pottering in the snow." 

" Call up Clausen." 

The manager stepped to the telephone. 

Meanwhile, George had advanced to speak to a 
man who had beckoned to him from the other side 
of the room, and with whom in another moment I 
saw him step out. Thus deserted, I sank into a 
chair near one of the windows. Never had I felt 



more uncomfortable. To attribute guilt to a totally 
unknown person a person who is little more to 
you than a shadowy silhouette against a background 
of snow is easy enough and not very disturbing to 
the conscience. But to hear that person named; 
given positive attributes; lifted from the indefinite 
into a living, breathing actuality, with a man's hopes, 
purposes and responsibilities, is an entirely different 
proposition. This Brotherson might be the most 
innocent person alive ; and, if so, what had we done ? 
Nothing to congratulate ourselves upon, certainly. 
And George was not present to comfort and encour- 
age me. He was 

Where was he? The man who had carried him 
off was the youngest in the group. What had he 
wanted of George? Those who remained showed 
no interest in the matter. They had enough to say 
among themselves. But I was interested natu- 
rally so, and, in my uneasiness, glanced restlessly 
from the window, the shade of which was up. The 
outlook was a very peaceful one. This room faced 
a side street, and, as my eyes fell upon the whitened 
pavements, I received an answer to one, and that the 
most anxious, of my queries. This was the street 
into which we had turned, in the wake of the hand- 
some stranger they were trying at this very moment 
to identify with Brotherson. George had evidently 
been asked to point out the exact spot where the man 
had stopped, for I could see from my vantage point 
two figures bending near the kerb, and even pawing 
at the snow which lay there. It gave me a slight 
turn when one of them I do not think it was 


George began to rub his hands together in much 
the way the unknown gentleman had done, and, in 
my excitement, I probably uttered some sort of an 
ejaculation, for I was suddenly conscious of a silence 
in the room, and when I turned saw all the men 
about me looking my way. 

I attempted to smile, but instead, shuddered pain- 
fully, as I raised my hand and pointed down at the 

" They are imitating the man," I cried; " my hus- 
band and and the person he went out with. It 
looked dreadful to me ; that is all." 

One of the gentlemen immediately said some kind 
words to me, and another smiled in a very encourag- 
ing way. But their attention was soon diverted, and 
so was mine by the entrance of a man in semi-uni- 
form, who was immediately addressed as Clausen. 

I knew his face. He was one of the doorkeepers ; 
the oldest employe about the hotel, and the one best 
liked. I had often exchanged words with him my- 

Mr. Slater at once put his question : 

" Has Mr. Brotherson passed your door at any 
time to-night? " 

" Mr. Brotherson I I don't remember, really I 
don't," was the unexpected reply. " It's not often I 
forget. But so many people came rushing in dur- 
ing those few minutes, and all so excited " 

" Before the excitement, Clausen. A little while 
before, possibly just before." 

" Oh, now I recall him ! Yes, Mr. Brotherson 
went out of my door not many minutes before the cry 


upstairs. I forgot because I had stepped back 
from the door to hand a lady the muff she had 
dropped, and it was at that minute he went out. I 
just got a glimpse of his back as he passed into the 

" But you are sure of that back? " 

" I don't know another like it, when he wears that 
big coat of his. But Jim can tell you, sir. He was 
in the cafe up to that minute, and that's where Mr. 
Brotherson usually goes first." 

u Very well; send up Jim. Tell him I have some 
orders to give him." 

The old man bowed and went out. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Slater had exchanged some 
words with the two officials, and now approached me 
with an expression of extreme consideration. They 
were about to excuse me from further participation 
in this informal inquiry. This I saw before he 
spoke. Of course they were right. But I should 
greatly have preferred to stay where I was till George 
came back. 

However, I met him for an instant in the hall be- 
fore I took the elevator, and later I heard in a 
round-about way what Jim and some others about 
the house had to say of Mr. Brotherson. 

He was an habitue of the hotel, to the extent of 
dining once or twice a week in the cafe, and smok- 
ing, afterwards, in the public lobby. When he was 
in the mood for talk, he would draw an ever-en- 
larging group about him, but at other times he would 
be seen sitting quite alone and morosely indifferent to 
all who approached him. There was no mystery 


about his business. He was an inventor, with one or 
two valuable patents already on the market. But this 
was not his only interest. He was an all round sort 
of man, moody but brilliant in many ways a char- 
acter which at once attracted and repelled, odd in 
that he seemed to set little store by his good looks, 
yet was most careful to dress himself in a way to 
show them off to advantage. If he had means be- 
yond the ordinary no one knew it, nor could any 
man say that he had not. On all personal matters 
he was very close-mouthed, though he would talk 
about other men's riches in a way to show that he 
cherished some very extreme views. 

This was all which could be learned about him 
off-hand, and at so late an hour. I was greatly 
interested, of course, and had plenty to think of till 
I saw George again and learned the result of the 
latest investigations. 

Miss Challoner had been shot, not stabbed. No 
other deduction was possible from such facts as were 
now known, though the physicians had not yet 
handed in their report, or even intimated what that 
report would be. No assailant could have ap- 
proached or left her, without attracting the notice of 
some one, if not all of the persons seated at a table 
in the same room. She could only have been reached 
by a bullet sent from a point near the head of a small 
winding staircase connecting the mezzanine floor 
with a coat-room adjacent to the front door. This 
has already been insisted on, as you will remember, 
and if you will glance at the diagram which George 
hastily scrawled for me, you will see why. 



A. B., as well as C. D., are half circular open- 
ings into the office lobby. E. F. are windows giving 
upon Broadway, and G. the party wall, necessarily 






unbroken by window, door or any other opening. It 
follows then that the only possible means of approach 
to this room lies through the archway H., or from the 
elevator door. But the elevator made no stop 


at the mezzanine on or near the time of the attack 
upon Miss Challoner; nor did any one leave the table 
or pass by it in either direction till after the alarm 
given by her fall. 

But a bullet calls for no approach. A man at X. 
might raise and fire his pistol without attracting any 
attention to himself. The music, which all acknowl- 
edge was at its full climax at this moment, would 
drown the noise of the explosion, and the staircase, 
out of view of all but the victim, afford the same 
means of immediate escape, which it must have given 
of secret and unseen approach. The coat-room into 
which it descended communicated with the lobby very 
near the main entrance, and if Mr. Brotherson were 
the man, his sudden appearance there would thus be 
accounted for. 

To be sure, this gentleman had not been noticed in 
the coatroom by the man then in charge, but if the 
latter hfcd been engaged at that instant, as he often 
was, in hanging up or taking down a coat from the 
rack, a person might easily pass by him and disap- 
pear into the lobby without attracting his attention. 
So many people passed that way from the dining- 
room beyond, and so many of these were tall, fine- 
looking and well-dressed. 

It began to look bad for this man, if indeed he 
were the one we had seen under the street-lamp ; and, 
as George and I reviewed the situation, we felt our 
position to be serious enough for us severally to set 
down our impressions of this man before we lost 
our first vivid idea. I do not know what George 
wrote, for he sealed his words up as soon as he had 


finished writing, but this is what I put on paper 
while my memory was still fresh and my excitement 

He had the look of a man of powerful intellect and deter- 
mined will, who shudders while he triumphs ; who outwardly 
washes his hands of a deed over which he inwardly gloats. 
This was when he first rose from the snow. Afterwards 
he had a moment of fear; plain, human, everyday fear. But 
this was evanescent. Before he had turned to go, he showed 
the self-possession of one who feels himself so secure, or is so 
well-satisfied with himself, that he is no longer conscious 
of other emotions. 

" Poor fellow," I commented aloud, as I folded 
up these words ; " he reckoned without you, George. 
By to-morrow he will be in the hands of the police." 

"Poor fellow?" he repeated. "Better say 
1 Poor Miss Challoner ! ' They tell me she was one 
of those perfect women who reconcile even the pes- 
simist to humanity and the age we live in. Why any 
one should want to kill her is a mystery; but why 
this man should There! no one professes to ex- 
plain it. They simply go by the facts. To-morrow 
surely must bring strange revelations." 

And with this sentence ringing in my mind, I lay 
down and endeavoured to sleep. But it was not 
till very late that rest came. The noise of passing 
feet, though muffled beyond their wont, roused me 
in spite of myself. These footsteps might be those 
of some late arrival, or they might be those of some 
wary detective intent on business far removed from 
the usual routine of life in this great hotel. 


I recalled the glimpse I had had of the writing- 
room in the early evening, and imagined it as it was 
now, with Miss Challoner's body removed and the 
incongruous flitting of strange and busy figures across 
its fatal floors, measuring distances and peering into 
corners, while hundreds slept above and about them 
in undisturbed repose. 

Then I thought of him, the suspected and possibly 
guilty one. In visions over which I had little if any 
control, I saw him in all the restlessness of a slowly 
dying down excitement the surroundings strange 
and unknown to me, the figure not seeking for 
quiet; facing the past; facing the future; knowing, 
perhaps, for the first time in his life what it was for 
crime and remorse to murder sleep. I could not 
think of him as lying still slumbering like the rest 
of mankind, in the hope and expectation of a busy 
morrow. Crime perpetrated looms so large in the 
soul, and this man had a soul as big as his body; of 
that I was assured. That its instincts were cruel and 
inherently evil, did not lessen its capacity for suffer- 
ing. And he was suffering now; I could not doubt 
it, remembering the lovely face and fragrant memory 
of the noble woman he had, under some unknown im- 
pulse, sent to an unmerited doom. 

At last I slept, but it was only to rouse again with 
the same quick realisation of my surroundings, which 
I had experienced on my recovery from my fainting 
fit of hours before. Someone had stopped at our 
door before hurrying by down the hall. Who was 
that someone? I rose on my elbow, and endeav- 
oured to peer through the dark. Of course, I could 


see nothing. But when I woke a second time, there 
was enough light in the room, early as it undoubtedly 
was, for me to detect a letter lying on the carpet just 
inside the door. 

Instantly I was on my feet. Catching the letter 
up, I carried it to the window. Our two names were 
on it Mr. and Mrs. George Anderson : the writ- 
ing, Mr. Slater's. 

I glanced over at George. He was sleeping 
peacefully. It was too early to wake him, but I 
could not lay that letter down unread; was not my 
name on it? Tearing it open, I devoured its con- 
tents, the exclamation I made on reading it, waking 

The writing was in Mr. Slater's hand, and the 
words were: 

" I must request, at the instance of Coroner Heath and 
such of the police as listened to your adventure, that you 
make no further mention of what you saw in the street under 
our windows last night. The doctors find no bullet in the 
wound. This clears Mr. Brotherson." 



WHEN we took our seats at the breakfast-table, it 
was with the feeling of being no longer looked upon 
as connected in any way with this case. Yet our in- 
terest in it was, if anything, increased, and when I saw 
George casting furtive glances at a certain table be- 
hind me, I leaned over and asked him the reason, 
being sure that the people whose faces I saw reflected 
in the mirror directly before us had something to do 
with the great matter then engrossing us. 

His answer conveyed the somewhat exciting in- 
formation that the four persons seated in my rear 
were the same four who had been reading at the 
round table in the mezzanine at the time of Miss 
Challoner's death. 

Instantly they absorbed all my attention, though 
I dared not give them a direct look, and continued to 
observe them only in the glass. 

" Is it one family? " I asked. 

" Yes, and a very respectable one. Transients, of 
course, but very well known in Denver. The lady 
is not the mother of the boys, but their aunt. The 
boys belong to the gentleman, who is a widower." 

" Their word ought to be good." 

George nodded. 

" The boys look wide-awake enough if the father 
does not. As for the aunt, she is sweetness itself. 



Do they still insist that Miss Challoner was the only 
person in the room with them at this time? " 

" They did last night. I don't know how they will 
meet this statement of the doctor's." 


He leaned nearer. 

" Have you ever thought that she might have been 
a suicide? That she stabbed herself? " 

" No, for in that case a weapon would have been 

" And are you sure that none was? " 

" Positive. Such a fact could not have been kept 
quiet. If a weapon had been picked up there would 
be no mystery, and no necessity for further police 

" And the detectives are still here ? " 

" I just saw one." 


Again his head came nearer. 

" Have they searched the lobby? I believe she 
had a weapon." 


" I know it sounds foolish, but the alternative is 
so improbable. A family like that cannot be leagued 
together in a conspiracy to hide the truth concerning 
a matter so serious. To be sure, they may all be 
short-sighted, or so little given to observation that 
they didn't see what passed before their eyes. The 
boys look wide-awake enough, but who can tell? I 
would sooner believe that " 

I stopped short so suddenly that George looked 
startled. My attention had been caught by some- 


thing new I saw in the mirror upon which my at- 
tention was fixed. A man was looking in from the 
corridor behind, at the four persons we were just 
discussing. He was watching them intently, and I 
thought I knew his face. 

" What kind of a looking person was the man who 
took you outside last night? " I inquired of George, 
with my eyes still on this furtive watcher. 

" A fellow to make you laugh. A perfect char- 
acter, Laura ; hideously homely but agreeable enough. 
I took quite a fancy to him. Why? " 

" I am looking at him now." 

' Very likely. He's deep in this affair. Just an 
everyday detective, but ambitious, I suppose, and 
quite alive to the importance of being thorough." 

" He is watching those people. No, he isn't. 
How quickly he disappeared 1 " 

" Yes, he's mercurial in all his movements. 
Laura, we must get out of this. There happens 
to be something else in the world for me to do than 
to sit around and follow up murder clews." 

But we began to doubt if others agreed with him, 
when on passing out we were stopped in the lobby 
by this same detective, who had something to say to 
George, and drew him quickly aside. 

"What does he want?" I asked, as soon as 
George had returned to my side. 

" He wants me to stand ready to obey any sum- 
mons the police may send me." 

"Then they still suspect Brotherson?" 

" They must." 

My head rose a trifle as I glanced up at George. 


"Then we are not altogether out of it?" I em- 
phasised, complacently. 

He smiled which hardly seemed a propos. 
Why does George sometimes smile when I am in 
my most serious moods. 

As we stepped out of the hotel, George gave my 
arm a quiet pinch which served to direct my attention 
to an elderly gentleman who was just alighting from 
a taxicab at the kerb. He moved heavily and with 
some appearance of pain, but from the crowd col- 
lected on the sidewalk many of whom nudged each 
other as he passed, he was evidently a person of 
some importance, and as he disappeared within the 
hotel entrance, I asked George who this kind-faced, 
bright-eyed old gentleman could be. 

He appeared to know, for he told me at once that 
he was Detective Gryce; a man who had grown old 
in solving just such baffling problems as these. 

" He gave up work some time ago, I have been 
told," my husband went on; " but evidently a great 
case still has its allurement for him. The trail here 
must be a very blind one for them to call him in. 
I wish we had not left so soon. It would have been 
quite an experience to see him at work." 

" I doubt if you would have been given the op- 
portunity. I noticed that we were slightly de trop 
towards the last." 

"I wouldn't have minded that; not on my own 
account, that is. It might not have been pleasant 
for you. However, the office is waiting. Come, 
let me put you on the car." 

That night I bided his coming with an impatience 


I could not control. He was late, of course, but 
when he did appear, I almost forgot our usual 
greeting in my hurry to ask him if he had seen the 
evening papers. 

" No," he grumbled, as he hung up his overcoat. 
" Been pushed about all day. No time for any- 

" Then let me tell you " 

But he would have dinner first. 

However, a little later we had a comfortable chat. 
Mr. Gryce had made a discovery, and the papers 
were full of it. It was one which gave me a small 
triumph over George. The suggestion he had 
laughed at was not so entirely foolish as he had been 
pleased to consider it. But let me tell the story 
of that day, without any further reference to myself. 

The opinion had become quite general with those 
best acquainted with the details of this affair, that 
the mystery was one of those abnormal ones for which 
no solution would ever be found, when the aged 
detective showed himself in the building and was 
taken to the room, where an Inspector of "Police 
awaited him. Their greeting was cordial, and the 
lines on the latter's face relaxed a little as he met 
the still bright eye of the man upon whose instinct 
and judgment so much reliance had always been 

' This is very good of you," he began, glancing 
down at the aged detective's bundled up legs, and 
gently pushing a chair towards him. " I know that 
it was a great deal to ask, but we're at our wits' end, 
and so I telephoned. It's the most inexplicable 


There! you have heard that phrase before. But 
clews there are absolutely none. That is, we have 
not been able to find any. Perhaps you can. At 
least, that is what we hope. I've known you more 
than once to succeed where others have failed." 

The elderly man thus addressed, glanced down at 
his legs, now propped up on a stool which someone 
had brought him, and smiled, with the pathos of the 
old who sees the interests of a lifetime slipping 
gradually away. 

" I am not what I was. I can no longer get down 
on my hands and knees to pick up threads from the 
nap of a rug, or spy out a spot of blood in the 
crimson woof of a carpet." 

" You shall have Sweetwater here to do the active 
work for you. What we want of you is the directing 
mind the infallible instinct. It's a case in a 
thousand, Gryce. We've never had anything just 
like it. You've never had anything at all like it. It 
will make you young again." 

The old man's eyes shot fire and unconsciously 
one foot slipped to the floor. Then he bethought 
himself and painfully lifted it back again. 

" What are the points? What's the difficulty? " 
he asked. " A woman has been shot " 

" No, not shot, stabbed. We thought she had 
been shot, for that was intelligible and involved no 
impossibilities. But Drs. Heath and Webster, under 
the eye of the Challoners' own physician, have made 
an examination of the wound an official one, 
thorough and quite final so far as they are concerned, 
and they declare that no bullet is to be found in the 


body. As the wound extends no further than the 
heart, this settles one great point, at least." 

" Dr. Heath is a reliable man and one of our ablest 

" Yes. There can be no question as to the truth 
of his report. You know the victim? Her name, 
I mean, and the character she bore?" 

" Yes; so much was told me on my way down." 

" A fine girl unspoiled by riches and seeming in- 
dependence. Happy, too, to all appearance, or we 
should be more ready to consider the possibility of 

" Suicide by stabbing calls for a weapon. Yet 
none has been found, I hear." 

" None." 

" Yet she was killed that way? " 

" Undoubtedly, and by a long and very narrow 
blade, larger than a needle but not so large as the 
ordinary stiletto." 

" Stabbed while by herself, or what you may call 
by herself? She had no companion near her?" 

" None, if we can believe the four members of 
the Parrish family who were seated at the other end 
of the room." 

" And you do believe them? " 

"Would a whole family lie and needlessly? 
They never knew the woman father, maiden aunt 
and two boys, clear-eyed, jolly young chaps whom 
even the horror of this tragedy, perpetrated as it 
were under their very nose, cannot make serious for 
more than a passing moment." 

-" It wouldn't seem so." 


" Yet they swear up and down that nobody crossed 
the room towards Miss Challoner." 

" So they tell me." 

" She fell just a few feet from the desk where she 
had been writing. No word, no cry, just a col- 
lapse and sudden fall. In olden days they would 
have said, struck by a bolt from heaven. But it 
was a bolt which drew blood; not much blood, I hear, 
but sufficient to end life almost instantly. She never 
looked up or spoke again. What do you make of 
it, Gryce?" 

" It's a tough one, and I'm not ready to venture an 
opinion yet. I should like to see the desk you speak 
of, and the spot where she fell." 

A young fellow who had been hovering in the back- 
ground at once stepped forward. He was the plain- 
faced detective who had spoken to George. 

" Will you take my arm, sir? " 

Mr. Gryce's whole face brightened. This Sweet- 
water, as they called him, was, I have since under- 
stood, one of his proteges and more or less of a 

" Have you had a chance at this thing? " he asked. 
"Been over the ground studied the affair care- 
fully? " 

" Yes, sir; they were good enough to allow it." 

" Very well, then, you're in a position to pioneer 
me. You've seen it all and won't be in a hurry." 

" No; I'm at the end of my rope. I haven't an 
idea, sir." 

" Well, well, that's honest at all events." Then, 


as he slowly rose with the other's careful assistance, 
' There's no crime without its clew. The thing is 
to recognise that clew when seen. But I'm in no 
position to make promises. Old days don't return 
for the asking." 

Nevertheless, he looked ten years younger than 
when he came in, or so thought those who knew him. 

The mezzanine was guarded from all visitors save 
such as had official sanction. Consequently, the two 
remained quite uninterrupted while they moved 
about the place in quiet consultation. Others had 
preceded them; had examined the plain little desk 
and found nothing; had paced off the distances; had 
looked with longing and inquiring eyes at the elevator 
cage and the open archway leading to the little stair- 
case and the musicians' gallery. But this was noth- 
ing to the old detective. The locale was what he 
wanted, and he got it. Whether he got anything 
else it would be impossible to say from his manner 
as he finally sank into a chair by one of the open- 
ings, and looked down on the lobby below. It was 
full of people coming and going on all sorts of busi- 
ness, and presently he drew back, and, leaning on 
Sweetwater's arm, asked him a few questions. 

' Who were the first to rush in here after the Par- 
rishes gave the alarm?" 

" One or two of the musicians from the end of the 
hall. They had just finished their programme and 
were preparing to leave the gallery. Naturally they 
reached her first." 

" Good! their names? " 


" Mark Sowerby and Claus Hennerberg. Honest 
Germans men who have played here for years." 

" And who followed them ? Who came next on 
the scene? " 

" Some people from the lobby. They heard the 
disturbance and rushed up pell-mell. But not one 
of these touched her. Later her father came." 

"Who did touch her? Anybody, before the fa- 
ther came in? " 

" Yes ; Miss Clarke, the middle-aged lady with the 
Parrishes. She had run towards Miss Challoner as 
soon as she heard her fall, and was sitting there with 
the dead girl's head in her lap when the musicians 
showed themselves." 

" I suppose she has been carefully questioned? " 

" Very, I should say." 

" And she speaks of no weapon? " 

" No. Neither she nor any one else at that mo- 
ment suspected murder or even a violent death. All 
thought it a natural one sudden, but the result of 
some secret disease." 

"Father and all? " 

" Yes." 

" But the blood? Surely there must have been 
some show of blood? " 

" They say not. No one noticed any. Not till 
the doctor came her doctor who was happily in 
his office in this very building. He saw the drops, 
and uttered the first suggestion of murder." 

" How long after was this? Is there any one 
who has ventured to make an estimate of the number 
of minutes which elapsed from the time she fell, 


to the moment when the doctor first raised the cry 
of murder? " 

" Yes. Mr. Slater, the assistant manager, who 
was in the lobby at the time, says that ten minutes 
at least must have elapsed." 

" Ten minutes and no blood! The weapon must 
still have been there. Some weapon with a short 
and inconspicuous handle. I think they said there 
were flowers over and around the place where it 

" Yes, great big scarlet ones. Nobody noticed 
nobody looked. A panic like that seems to paralyse 

" Ten minutes ! I must see every one who ap- 
proached her during those ten minutes. Every one, 
Sweetwater, and I must myself talk with Miss 

" You will like her. You will believe every word 
she says." 

" No doubt. All the more reason why I must 
see her. Sweetwater, someone drew that weapon 
out. Effects still have their causes, notwithstanding 
the new cult. The question is who? We must 
leave no stone unturned to find that out." 

" The stones have all been turned over once." 

"By you?" 

" Not altogether by me." 

" Then they will bear being turned over again. I 
want to be witness of the operation." 
' Where will you see Miss Clarke? " 
' Wherever she pleases only I can't walk far." 

" I think I know the place. You shall have the 


.use of this elevator. It has not been running since 
last night or it would be full of curious people all 
the time, hustling to get a glimpse of this place. But 
they'll put a man on for you." 

" Very good ; manage it as you will. I'll wait here 
till you're ready. Explain yourself to the lady. 
Tell her I'm an old and rheumatic invalid who has 
been used to asking his own questions. I'll not 
trouble her much. But there is one point she must 
make clear to me." 

Sweetwater did not presume to ask what point, 
but he hoped to be fully enlightened when the time 

And he was. Mr. Gryce had undertaken to edu- 
cate him for this work, and never missed the oppor- 
tunity of giving him a lesson. The three met in 
a private sitting-room on an upper floor, the detec- 
tives entering first and the lady coming in soon after. 

As her quiet figure appeared in the doorway, 
Sweetwater stole a glance at Mr. Gryce. He was not 
looking her way, of course ; he never looked directly 
at anybody; but he formed his impressions for all 
that, and Sweetwater was anxious to make sure of 
these impressions. There was no doubting them in 
this instance. Miss Clarke was not a woman to 
rouse an unfavourable opinion in any man's mind. 
Of slight, almost frail build, she had that peculiar 
animation which goes with a speaking eye and a 
widely sympathetic nature. Without any substantial 
claims to beauty, her expression was so womanly and 
so sweet that she was invariably called lovely. 

Mr. Gryce was engaged at the moment in shifting 


his cane from the right hand to the left, but his man- 
ner was never more encouraging or his smile more 

" Pardon me," he apologised, with one of his old- 
fashioned bows, " I'm sorry to trouble you after all 
the distress you must have been under this morning. 
But there is something I wish especially to ask you 
in regard to the dreadful occurrence in which you 
played so kind a part. You were the first to reach 
the prostrate woman, I believe." 

" Yes. The boys jumped up and ran towards her, 
but they were frightened by her looks and left it for 
me to put my hands under her and try to lift her 

" Did you manage it? " 

" I succeeded in getting her head into my lap, noth- 
ing more." 

"And sat so?" 

" For some little time. That is, it seemed long, 
though I believe it was not more than a minute be- 
fore two men came running from the musicians' gal- 
lery. One thinks so fast at such a time and feels 
so much." 

" You knew she was dead, then? " 

" I felt her to be so." 

"How felt?" 

" I was sure I never questioned it." 

" You have seen women in a faint? " 

" Yes, many times." 

'What made the difference? Why should you 
believe Miss Challoner dead simply because she lay 
still and apparently lifeless?" 


" I cannot tell you. Possibly, death tells its own 
story. I only know how I felt." 

" Perhaps there was another reason? Perhaps, 
that, consciously or unconsciously, you laid your palm 
upon her heart? " 

Miss Clarke started, and her sweet face showed a 
moment's perplexity. 

" Did I ? " she queried, musingly. Then with a 
sudden access of feeling, " I may have done so, in- 
deed, I believe I did. My arms were around her; it 
would not have been an unnatural action." 

" No; a very natural one, I should say. Cannot 
you tell me positively whether you did this or 

" Yes, I did. I had forgotten it, but I remember 
now." And the glance she cast him while not meet- 
ing his eye showed that she understood the impor- 
tance of the admission. " I know," she said, " what 
you are going to ask me now. Did I feel anything 
there but the flowers and the tulle? No, Mr. Gryce, 
I did not. There was no poniard in the wound." 

Mr. Gryce felt around, found a chair and sank into 

" You are a truthful woman," said he. " And," 
he added more slowly, " composed enough in char- 
acter I should judge not to have made any mistake 
on this very vital point." 

" I think so, Mr. Gryce. I was in a state of ex- 
citement, of course ; but the woman was a stranger to 
me, and my feelings were not unduly agitated." 

" Sweetwater, we can let my suggestion go in re- 
gard to those ten minutes I spoke of. The time is 


narrowed down to one, and in that one, Miss Clarke 
was the only person to touch her." 

' The only one," echoed the lady, catching pep- 
haps the slight rising sound of query in his voice. 

" I will trouble you no further." So said the old 
detective, thoughtfully. " Sweetwater, help me out 
of this." His eye was dull and his manner betrayed 
exhaustion. But vigour returned to him before he 
had well reached the door, and he showed some of 
his old spirit as he thanked Miss Clarke and turned 
to take the elevator. 

" But one possibility remains," he confided to 
Sweetwater, as they stood waiting at the elevator 
door. " Miss Challoner died from a stab. The 
next minute she was in this lady's arms. No 
weapon protruded from the wound, nor was any 
found on or near her in the mezzanine. What fol- 
lows ? She struck the blow herself, and the strength 
of purpose which led her to do this, gave her the 
additional force to pull the weapon out and fling it 
from her. It did not fall upon the floor around her ; 
therefore, it flew through one of those openings into 
the lobby, and there it either will be, or has been 

It was this statement, otherwise worded, which 
gave me my triumph over George. 


"WHAT results? Speak up, Sweetwater." 

" None. Every man, woman and boy connected 
with the hotel has been questioned; many of them 
routed out of their beds for the purpose, but not one 
of them picked up anything from the floor of the 
lobby, or knows of any one who did." 

" There now remain the guests." 

" And after them (pardon me, Mr. Gryce) the 
general public which rushed in rather promiscuously 
last night." 

"I know it; it's a task, but it must be carried 
through. Put up bulletins, publish your wants in the 
papers; do anything, only gain your end." 

A bulletin was put up. 

Some hours later, Sweetwater re-entered the room, 
and, approaching Mr. Gryce with a smile, blurted 

" The bulletin is a great go. I think of course, 
I cannot be sure that it's going to do the business. 
I've watched every one who stopped to read it. 
Many showed interest and many, emotion ; she seems 
to have had a troop of friends. But embarrassment ! 
only one showed that. I thought you would like 
to know." 

"Embarrassment? Humph! a man?" 



" No, a woman; a lady, sir; one of the transients. 
I found out in a jiffy all they could tell me about 

" A woman ! We didn't expect that. Where is 
she? Still in the lobby?" 

" No, sir. She took the elevator while I was talk- 
ing with the clerk." 

' There's nothing in it. You mistook her expres- 


" I don't think so. I had noticed her when she 
first came into the lobby. She was talking to her 
daughter who was with her, and looked natural and 
happy. But no sooner had she seen and read that 
bulletin, than the blood shot up into her face and her 
manner became furtive and hasty. There was no 
mistaking the difference, sir. Almost before I could 
point her out, she had seized her daughter by the 
arm and hurried her towards the elevator. I wanted 
to follow her, but you may prefer to make your own 
inquiries. Her room is on the seventh floor, number 
,712, and her name is Watkins. Mrs. Horace Wat- 
kins of Nashville." 

Mr. Gryce nodded thoughtfully, but made no im- 
mediate effort to rise. 

" Is that all you know about her? " he asked. 

' Yes; this is the first time she has stopped at this 
hotel. She came yesterday. Took a room in- 
definitely. Seems all right; but she did blush, sir. I 
never saw its beat in a young girl." 

" Call the desk. Say that I'm to be told if Mrs. 
Watkins of Nashville rings up during the next ten 


minutes. We'll give her that long to take some 
action. If she fails to make any move, I'll make my 
own approaches." 

Sweetwater did as he was bid, then went back to 
his place in the lobby. 

But he returned almost instantly. 

" Mrs. Watkins has just telephoned down that she 
is going to to leave, sir." 

" To leave? " 

The old man struggled to his feet. " No. 712, do 
you say? Seven stories," he sighed. But as he 
turned with a hobble, he stopped. " There are diffi- 
culties in the way of this interview," he remarked. 
" A blush is not much to go upon. I'm afraid we 
shall have to resort to the shadow business and that 
is your work, not mine." 

But here the door opened and a boy brought in a 
line which had been left at the desk. It related to 
the very matter then engaging them, and ran thus : 

" I see that information is desired as to whether any per- 
son was seen to stoop to the lobby floor last night at or 
shortly after the critical moment of Miss Challoner's fall 
in the half story above. I can give such information. I 
was in the lobby at the time, and in the height of the con- 
fusion following this alarming incident, I remember seeing 
a lady, one of the new arrivals (there were several coming 
in at the time) stoop quickly down and pick up some- 
thing from the floor. I thought nothing of it at the time, 
and so paid little attention to her appearance. I can only 
recall the suddenness with which she stooped and the colour 
of the cloak she wore. It was red, and the whole garment 
was voluminous. If you wish further particulars, though 


in truth, I have no more to give, you can find me in room 



" Humph ! This should simplify our task," was 
Mr. Gryce's comment, as he handed the note over 
to Sweetwater. " You can easily find out if the lady, 
now on the point of departure, can be identified with 
the one described by Mr. McElroy. If she can, I 
am ready to meet her anywhere." 

" Here goes then ! " cried Sweetwater, and quickly 
left the room. 

When he returned, it was not with his most hope- 
ful air. 

" The cloak doesn't help," he declared. " No one 
remembers the cloak. But the time of Mrs. Wat- 
kins' arrival was all right. She came in directly on 
the heels of this catastrophe." 

" She did ! Sweetwater, I will see her. Manage 
it for me at once." 

" The clerk says that it had better be upstairs : 
She is a very sensitive woman. There might be a 
scene, if she were intercepted on her way out." 

" Very well." But the look which the old 
detective threw at his bandaged legs was not without 
its pathos. 

And so it happened that just as Mrs. Watkins was 
watching the wheeling out of her trunks, there ap- 
peared in the doorway before her, an elderly gentle- 
man, whose expression, always benevolent, save at 
moments when benevolence would be quite out of 
keeping with the situation, had for some reason, so 


marked an effect upon her, that she coloured under 
his eye, and, indeed, showed such embarrassment, 
that all doubt of the propriety of his intrusion 
vanished from the old man's mind, and with the ease 
of one only too well accustomed to such scenes, he 
kindly remarked: 

" Am I speaking to Mrs. Watkins of Nashville? " 

" You are," she faltered, with another rapid 
change of colour. "I I am just leaving. I hope 
you will excuse me. I " 

" I wish I could," he smiled, hobbling in and con- 
fronting her quietly in her own room. " But cir- 
cumstances make it quite imperative that I should 
have a few words with you on a topic which need not 
be disagreeable to you, and probably will not be. 
My name is Gryce. This will probably convey noth- 
ing to you, but I am not unknown to the management 
below, and my years must certainly give you confi- 
dence in the propriety of my errand. A beautiful 
and charming young woman died here last night. 
May I ask if you knew her? " 

"I?" She was trembling violently now, but 
whether with indignation or some other more subtle 
emotion, it would be difficult to say. " No, I'm 
from the South. I never saw the young lady. Why 

do you ask? I do not recognise your right. I 

Certainly her emotion must be that of simple in- 
dignation. Mr. Gryce made one of his low bows, 
and propping himself against the table he stood be- 
fore, remarked civilly : 

" I had rather not force my rights. The matter 


is so very ordinary. I did not suppose you knew 
Miss Challoner, but one must begin somehow, and as 
you came in at the very moment when the alarm 
was raised in the lobby, I thought perhaps you could 
tell me something which would aid me in my effort 
to elicit the real facts of the case. You were cross- 
ing the lobby at the time " 

" Yes." She raised her head. u So were a dozen 
others " 

u Madam," the interruption was made in his 
kindliest tones, but in a way which nevertheless sug- 
gested authority. " Something was picked up from 
the floor at that moment. If the dozen you mention 
were witnesses to this act we do not know it. But we 
do know that it did not pass unobserved by you. Am 
I not correct? Didn't you see a certain person I 
will mention no names stoop and pick up some- 
thing from the lobby floor? " 

" No." The word came out with startling 
violence. " I was conscious of nothing but the con- 
fusion." She was facing him with determination 
and her eyes were fixed boldly on his face. But her 
lips quivered, and her cheeks were white, too white 
now for simple indignation. 

' Then I have made a big mistake," apologised 
the ever-courteous detective. " Will you pardon 
me? It would have settled a very serious question 
if it could be found that the object thus picked up 
was the weapon which killed Miss Challoner. That 
is my excuse for the trouble I have given you." 

He was not looking at her; he was looking at her 
hand which rested on the table before which he him- 


self stood. Did the fingers tighten a little and dig 
into the palm they concealed? He thought so, and 
was very slow in turning limpingly about towards the 
door. Meanwhile, would she speak? No. The 
silence was so marked, he felt it an excuse for stealing 
another glance in her direction. She was not looking 
his way but at a door in the partition wall on her 
right ; and the look was one very akin to anxious fear. 
The next moment he understood it. The door burst 
open, and a young girl bounded into the room, with 
the merry cry : 

" All ready, mother. I'm glad we are going to 
the Clarendon. I hate hotels where people die al- 
most before your eyes." 

What the mother said at this outburst is im- 
material. What the detective did is not. Keeping 
on his way, he reached the door, but not to open it 
wider; rather to close it softly but with unmistakable 
decision. The cloak which enveloped the girl was 
red, and full enough to be called voluminous. 

" Who is this? " demanded the girl, her indignant 
glances flashing from one to the other. 

" I don't know," faltered the mother in very evi- 
dent distress. " He says he has a right to ask us 
questions and he has been asking questions about > 
about " 

" Not about me," laughed the girl, with a toss of 
her head Mr. Gryce would have corrected in one of 
his grandchildren. " He can have nothing to say 
about me." And she began to move about the room 
in an aimless, half-insolent way. 

Mr. Gryce stared hard at the few remaining be- 


longings of the two women, lying in a heap on the 
table, and half musingly, half deprecatingly, re- 
marked : 

" The person who stooped wore a long red cloak. 
Probably you preceded your daughter, Mrs. Wat- 

The lady thus brought to the point made a quick 
gesture towards the girl who suddenly stood still, and, 
with a rising colour in her cheeks, answered, with 
some show of resolution on her own part: 

" You say your name is Gryce and that you have a 
right to address me thus pointedly on a subject 
which you evidently regard as serious. That is not 
exact enough for me. Who are you, sir? What is 
your business? " 

" I think you have guessed it. I am a detective 
from Headquarters. What I want of you I have al- 
ready stated. Perhaps this young lady can tell me 
what you cannot. I shall be pleased if this is so." 

"Caroline" Then the mother broke down. 
" Show the gentleman what you picked up from the 
lobby floor last night." 

The girl laughed again, loudly and with evident 
bravado, before she threw the cloak back and showed 
what she had evidently been holding in her hand from 
the first, a sharp-pointed, gold-handled paper-cutter. 

" It was lying there and I picked it up. I don't 
see any harm in that." 

' You probably meant none. You couldn't have 
known the part it had just played in this tragic 
drama," said the old detective looking carefully at 
the cutter which he had taken in his hand, but not so 


carefully that he failed to note that the look of dis- 
tress was not lifted from the mother's face either by 
her daughter's words or manner. 

" You have washed this? " he asked. 

"No. Why should I wash it? It was clean 
enough. I was just going down to give it in at the 
desk. I wasn't going to carry it away." And she 
turned aside to the window and began to hum, as 
though done with the whole matter. 

The old detective rubbed his chin, glanced again at 
the paper-cutter, then at the girl in the window, and 
lastly at the mother, who had lifted her head again 
and was facing him bravely. 

" It is very important," he observed to the latter, 
" that your daughter should be correct in her state- 
ment as to the condition of this article when she 
picked it up. Are you sure she did not wash it? " 

" I don't think she did. But I'm sure she will tell 
you the truth about that. Caroline, this is a police 
matter. Any mistake about it may involve us in a 
world of trouble and keep you from getting back 
home in time for your coming-out party. Did you 
did you wash this cutter when you got upstairs, 
or or " she added, with a propitiatory glance 
at Mr. Gryce " wipe it off at any time between 
then and now? Don't answer hastily. Be sure. 
No one can blame you for that act. Any girl, as 
thoughtless as you, might do that." 

"Mother, how can I tell what I did?" flashed 
out the girl, wheeling round on her heel till she faced 
them both. " I don't remember doing a thing to it. 
I just brought it up. A thing found like that belongs 


to the finder. You needn't hold it out towards me 
like that. I don't want it now ; I'm sick of it. Such 
a lot of talk about a paltry thing which couldn't have 
cost ten dollars." And she wheeled back. 

" It isn't the value." Mr. Gryce could be very 
patient. " It's the fact that we believe it to have 
been answerable for Miss Challoner's death that 
is, if there was any blood on it when you picked it 

" Blood! " The girl was facing them again, as- 
tonishment struggling with disgust on her plain but 
mobile features. " Blood! is that what you mean? 
No wonder I hate it. Take it away," she cried. 
" Oh, mother, I'll never pick up anything again which 
doesn't belong to me ! Blood ! " she repeated in hor- 
ror, flinging herself into her mother's arms. 

Mr. Gryce thought he understood the situation. 
Here was a little kleptomaniac whose weakness the 
mother was struggling to hide. Light was pouring 
in. He felt his body's weight less on that miserable 
foot of his. 

" Does that frighten you ? Are you so affected by 
the thought of blood? " 

" Don't ask me. And I put the thing under my 
pillow ! I thought it was so so pretty." 

" Mrs. Watkins," Mr. Gryce from that moment 
ignored the daughter, " did you see it there? " 

" Yes; but I didn't know where it came from. I 
had not seen my daughter stoop. I didn't know 
where she got it till I read that bulletin." 

" Never mind that. The question agitating me 
is whether any stain was left under that pillow. We 


want to be sure of the connection between this pos- 
sible weapon and the death by stabbing which we all 
deplore if there is a connection." 

" I didn't see any stain, but you can look for your- 
self. The bed has been made up, but there was no 
change of linen. We expected to remain here; I see 
no good to be gained by hiding any of the facts now." 

" None whatever, Madam." 

" Come, then. Caroline, sit down and stop cry- 
ing. Mr. Gryce believes that your only fault was 
in not taking this object at once to the desk." 

" Yes, that's all," acquiesced the detective after a 
short study of the shaking figure and distorted fea- 
tures of the girl. " You had no idea, I'm sure, 
where this weapon came from or for what it had 
been used. That's evident." 

Her shudder, as she seated herself, was very con- 
vincing. She was too young to simulate so success- 
fully emotions of this character. 

" I'm glad of that," she responded, half fretfully, 
half gratefully, as Mr. Gryce followed her mother 
into the adjoining room. " I've had a bad enough 
time of it without being blamed for what I didn't 
know and didn't do." 

Mr. Gryce laid little stress upon these words, but 
much upon the lack of curiosity she showed in the 
minute and careful examination he now made of her 
room. There was no stain on the pillow-cover and 
none on the bureau-spread where she might very 
naturally have laid the cutter down on first coming 
into her room. The blade was so polished that it 
must have been rubbed off somewhere, either pur- 


posely or by accident. Where then, since not here? 
He asked to see her gloves the ones she had worn 
the previous night. 

" They are the same she is wearing now," the anx- 
ious mother assured him. ' Wait, and I will get 
them for you." 

" No need. Let her hold out her hands in token 
of amity. I shall soon see." 

They returned to where the girl still sat, wrapped 
in her cloak, sobbing still, but not so violently. 

" Caroline, you may take off your things," said 
the mother, drawing the pins from her own hat. 
" We shall not go to-day." 

The child shot her mother one disappointed look, 
then proceeded to follow suit. When her hat was 
off, she began to take off her gloves. As soon as 
they were on the table, the mother pushed them over 
to Mr. Gryce. As he looked at them, the girl lifted 
off her cloak. 

"Will will he tell?" she whispered behind its 
ample folds into her mother's ear. 

The answer came quickly, but not in the mother's 
tones. Mr. Gryce's ears had lost none of their an- 
cient acuteness. 

" I do not see that I should gain much by doing 
so. The one discovery which would link this find of 
yours indissolubly with Miss Challoner's death, I 
have failed to make. If I am equally unsuccessful 
below if I can establish no closer connection there 
than here between this cutter and the weapon which 
killed Miss Challoner, I shall have no cause to men- 
tion the matter. It will be too extraneous to the 


case. Do you remember the exact spot where you 
stooped, Miss Watkins? " 

"No, no. Somewhere near those big chairs; I 
didn't have to step out of my way ; I really didn't." 

Mr. Gryce's answering smile was a study. It 
seemed to convey a two-fold message, one for the 
mother and one for the child, and both were com- 
forting. But he went away, disappointed. The 
clew which promised so much was, to all appearance, 
a false one. 

He could soon tell. 



MR. GRYCE'S fears were only too well founded. 
Though Mr. McElroy was kind enough to point out 
the exact spot where he saw Miss Watkins stoop, 
no trace of blood was found upon the rug which 
had lain there, nor had anything of the kind been 
washed up by the very careful man who scrubbed 
the lobby floor in the early morning. This was dis- 
appointing, as its presence would have settled the 
whole question. When, these efforts all exhausted, 
the two detectives faced each other again in the small 
room given up to their use, Mr. Gryce showed his dis- 
couragement. To be certain of a fact you cannot 
prove has not the same alluring quality for the old 
that it has for the young. Sweetwater watched him 
in some concern, then with the persistence which 
was one of his strong points, ventured finally to re- 

" I have but one idea left on the subject." 

" And what is that? " Old as he was, Mr. Gryce 
was alert in a moment. 

" The girl wore a red cloak. If I mistake not, 
the lining was also red. A spot on it might not 
show to the casual observer. Yet it would mean 
much to us." 

" Sweetwater! " 

A faint blush rose to the old man's cheek. 



" Shall I request the privilege of looking that 
-garment over? " 

" Yes." 

The young fellow ducked and left the room. 
When he returned, it was with a downcast air. 

" Nothing doing," said he. 

And then there was silence. 

" We only need to find out now that this cutter 
was not even Miss Challoner's property," remarked 
Mr. Gryce, at last, with a gesture towards the object 
named lying openly on the table before him. 

" That should be easy. Shall I take it to their 
rooms and show it to her maid? " 

" If you can do so without disturbing the old gen- 

But here they were themselves disturbed. A 
knock at the door was followed by the immediate 
entrance of the very person just mentioned. Mr. 
Challoner had come in search of the inspector, and 
showed some surprise to find his place occupied by 
an unknown old man. 

But Mr. Gryce, who discerned tidings in the be- 
reaved father's face, was all alacrity in an instant. 
Greeting his visitor with a smile which few could see 
without trusting the man, he explained the inspec- 
tor's absence and introduced himself in his own ca- 

Mr. Challoner had heard of him. Nevertheless, 
he did not seem inclined to speak. 

Mr. Gryce motioned Sweetwater from the room. 
With a woeful look the young detective withdrew, 


his last glance cast at the cutter still lying in full view 
on the table. 

Mr. Gryce, not unmindful himself of this object, 
took it up, then laid it down again, with an air of 
seeming abstraction. 

The father's attention was caught. 

"What is that?" he cried, advancing a step and 
bestowing more than an ordinary glance at the ob- 
ject thus brought casually, as it were, to his notice. 
" I surely recognise this cutter. Does it belong here 

Mr. Gryce, observing the other's emotion, mo- 
tioned him to a chair. As his visitor sank into it, he 
remarked, with all the consideration exacted by the 

" It is unknown property, Mr. Challoner. But 
we have some reason to think it belonged to your 
daughter. Are we correct in this surmise? " 

" I have seen it, or one like it, often in her hand." 
Here his eyes suddenly dilated and the hand 
stretched forth to grasp it quickly drew back. 
'Where where was it found?" he hoarsely de- 
manded. " O God! am I to be crushed to the very 
earth by sorrow ! " 

Mr. Gryce hastened to give him such relief as was 
consistent with the truth. 

" It was picked up last night from the lobby 
floor. There is seemingly nothing to connect it with 
her death. Yet" 

The pause was eloquent. Mr. Challoner gave the 
detective an agonised look and turned white to the 


lips. Then gradually, as the silence continued, his 
head fell forward, and he muttered almost unintel- 
ligibly : 

" I honestly believe her the victim of some heart- 
less stranger. I do now; but but I cannot mis- 
lead the police. At any cost I must retract a state- 
ment I made under false impressions and with no 
desire to deceive. I said that I knew all of the gentle- 
men who admired her and aspired to her hand, and 
that they were all reputable men and above commit- 
ting a crime of this or any other kind. But it seems 
that I did not know her secret heart as thoroughly as 
I had supposed. Among her effects I have just come 
upon a batch of letters love letters I am forced to 
acknowledge signed by initials totally strange to 
me. The letters are manly in tone most of them 
but one " 

" What about the one? " 

" Shows that the writer was displeased. It may 
mean nothing, but I could not let the matter go with- 
out setting myself right with the authorities. If it 
might be allowed to rest here if those letters can 
remain sacred, it would save me the additional pang 
of seeing her inmost concerns the secret and 
holiest recesses of a woman's heart, laid open to the 
public. For, from the tenor of most of these letters, 
she she was not averse to the writer." 

Mr. Gryce moved a little restlessly in his chair and 
stared hard at the cutter so conveniently placed un- 
der his eye. Then his manner softened and he re- 
marked : 

'' We will do what we can. But you must under- 


stand that the matter is not a simple one. That, in 
fact, it contains mysteries which demand police in- 
vestigation. We do not dare to trifle with any of 
the facts. The inspector, and, if not he, the coroner, 
will have to be told about these letters and will prob- 
ably ask to see them." 

' They are the letters of a gentleman." 
" With the one exception." 

' Yes, that is understood." Then in a sudden 
heat and with an almost sublime trust in his daugh- 
ter notwithstanding tRe duplicity he had just discov- 
ered : " Nothing not the story told by these letters, 
or the sight of that sturdy paper-cutter with its long 
and very slender blade, will make me believe that she 
willingly took her own life. You do not know, can- 
not know, the rare delicacy of her nature. She was 
a lady through and through. If she had meditated 
death if the breach suggested by the one letter I 
have mentioned, should have so preyed upon her 
spirits as to lead her to break her old father's heart 
and outrage the feelings of all who knew her, she 
could not, being the woman she was, choose a public 
place for such an act an hotel writing-room in 
face of a lobby full of hurrying men. It was out of 
nature. Every one who knows her will tell you so. 
The deed was an accident incredible but still 
an accident." 

Mr. Gryce had respect for this outburst. Mak- 
ing no attempt to answer it, he suggested, with some 
hesitation, that Miss Challoner had been seen writing 
a letter previous to taking those fatal steps from the 
desk which ended so tragically. Was this letter to 


one of her lady friends, as reported, and was it as far 
from suggesting the awful tragedy which followed, 
as he had been told? 

" It was a cheerful letter. Such a one as she often 
wrote to her little protegees here and there. I judge 
that this was written to some girl like that, for the 
person addressed was not known to her maid, any 
more than she was to me. It expressed an affec- 
tionate interest, and it breathed encouragement 
encouragement! and she meditating her own death at 
the moment! Impossible! That letter should ex- 
onerate her if nothing else does." 

Mr. Gryce recalled the incongruities, the incon- 
sistencies and even the surprising contradictions which 
had often marked the conduct of men and women, 
in his lengthy experience with the strange, the sudden, 
and the tragic things of life, and slightly shook his 
head. He pitied Mr. Challoner, and admired even 
more his courage in face of the appalling grief which 
had overwhelmed him, but he dared not encourage a 
false hope. The girl had killed herself and with this 
weapon. They might not be able to prove it abso- 
lutely, but it was nevertheless true, and this broken 
old man would some day be obliged to acknowledge 
it. But the detective said nothing of this, and was 
very patient with the further arguments the other 
advanced to prove his point and the lofty character 
of the girl to whom, misled by appearance, the police 
seemed inclined to attribute the awful sin of self-de- 

But when, this topic exhausted, Mr. Challoner 
rose to leave the room, Mr. Gryce showed where his 


own thoughts still centred, by asking him the date 
of the correspondence discovered between his daughter 
and her unknown admirer. 

" Some of the letters were dated last summer, 
some this fall. The one you are most anxious to hear 
about only a month back," he added, with uncon- 
querable devotion to what he considered his duty. 

Mr. Gryce would like to have carried his inquiries 
further, but desisted. His heart was full of compas- 
sion for this childless old man, doomed to have his 
choicest memories disturbed by cruel doubts which 
possibly would never be removed to his own com- 
plete satisfaction. 

But when he was gone, and Sweetwater had re- 
turned, Mr. Gryce made it his first duty to communi- 
cate to his superiors the hitherto unsuspected fact of 
a secret romance in Miss Challoner's seemingly calm 
and well-guarded life. She had loved and been 
loved by one of whom her family knew nothing. 
And the two had quarrelled, as certain letters lately 
found could be made to show. 



BEFORE a table strewn with papers, in the room we 
have already mentioned as given over to the use of 
the police, sat Dr. Heath in a mood too thoughtful to 
notice the entrance of Mr. Gryce and Sweetwater 
from the dining-room where they had been having 

However as the former's tread was somewhat lum- 
bering, the coroner's attention was caught before 
they had quite crossed the room, and Sweetwater, 
with his quick eye, noted how his arm and hand im- 
mediately fell so as to cover up a portion of the pa- 
pers lying nearest to him. 

' Well, Gryce, this is a dark case," he observed, 
as at his bidding the two detectives took their seats. 

Mr. Gryce nodded; so did Sweetwater. 

' The darkest that has ever come to my knowl- 
edge," pursued the coroner. 

Mr. Gryce again nodded; but not so, Sweetwater. 
For some reason this simple expression of opinion 
seemed to have given him a mental start. 

" She was not shot. She was not struck by any 
other hand; yet she lies dead from a mortal wound 
in the breast. Though there is no tangible proof 
of her having inflicted this wound upon herself, the 
jury will have no alternative, I fear, than to pro- 
nounce the case one of suicide." 



" I'm sorry that I've been able to do so little," re- 
marked Mr. Gryce. 

The coroner darted him a quick look. 

" You are not satisfied? You have some different 
idea? " he asked. 

The detective frowned at his hands crossed over 
the top of his cane, then shaking his head, replied : 

" The verdict you mention is the only natural one, 
of course. I see that you have been talking with 
Miss Challoner's former maid?" 

" Yes, and she has settled an important point for 
us. There was a possibility, of course, that the pa- 
per-cutter which you brought to my notice had never 
gone with her into the mezzanine. That she, or 
some other person, had dropped it in passing through 
the lobby. But this girl assures me that her mis- 
tress did not enter the lobby that night. That she 
accompanied her down in the elevator, and saw her 
step off at the mezzanine. She can also swear that 
the cutter was in a book she carried the book we 
found lying on the desk. The girl remembers dis- 
tinctly seeing its peculiarly chased handle projecting 
from its pages. Could anything be more satisfac- 
tory if I was going to say, if the young lady had 
been of the impulsive type and the provocation 
greater. But Miss Challoner's nature was calm, 
and were it not for these letters " here his arm 
shifted a little "I should not be so sure of my 
jury's future verdict. Love " he went on, after a 
moment of silent consideration of a letter he had 
chosen from those before him, " disturbs the most 
equable natures. When it enters as a factor, we can 


expect anything as you know. And Miss Chal- 
loner evidently was much attached to her correspon- 
dent, and naturally felt the reproach conveyed in 
these lines." 

And Dr. Heath read: 

" Dear Miss Challoner: 

" Only a man of small spirit could endure what I endured 
from you the other day. Love such as mine would be re- 
spectable in a clod-hopper, and I think that even you will 
acknowledge that I stand somewhat higher than that. 
Though I was silent under your disapprobation, you shall 
yet have your answer. It will not lack point because of its 
necessary delay." 

"A threat!" 

The words sprang from Sweetwater, and were 
evidently involuntary. Dr. Heath paid no notice, 
but Mr. Gryce, in shifting his hands on his cane top, 
gave them a sidelong look which was not without a 
bint of fresh interest in a case concerning which he 
had believed himself to have said his last word. 

" It is the only letter of them all which conveys 
anything like a reproach," proceeded the coroner. 
' The rest are ardent enough and, I must acknowl- 
edge that, so far as I have allowed myself to look 
into them, sufficiently respectful. Her surprise 
must consequently have been great at receiving these 
lines, and her resentment equally so. If the two 
met afterwards But I have not shown you the 
signature. To the poor father it conveyed nothing 
some facts have been kept from him but to 
us " here he whirled the letter about so that 


Sweetwater, at least, could see the name, " it con- 
veys a hope that we may yet understand Miss 

" Brotherson ! " exclaimed the young detective in 
loud surprise. " Brotherson I The man who " 

" The man who left this building just before or 
simultaneously with the alarm caused by Miss Chal- 
loner's fall. It clears away some of the clouds be- 
fogging us. She probably caught sight of him in the 
lobby, and in the passion of the moment forgot her 
usual instincts and drove the sharp-pointed weapon 
into her heart." 

" Brotherson ! " The word came softly now, and 
with a thoughtful intonation. " He saw her die." 

" Why do you say that? " 

" Would he have washed his hands in the snow 
if he had been in ignorance of the occurrence? He 
was the real, if not active, cause of her death and he 
knew it. Either he Excuse me, Dr. Heath and 
Mr. Gryce, it is not for me to obtrude my opinion." 

" Have you settled it beyond dispute that Brother- 
son is really the man who was seen doing this? " 

" No, sir. I have not had a minute for that job, 
but I'm ready for the business any time you see fit 
to spare me." 

" Let it be to-morrow, or, if you can manage it, 
to-night. We want the man even if he is not the 
hero of that romantic episode. He wrote these let- 
ters, and he must explain the last one. His initials, 
as you see, are not ordinary ones, and you will find 
them at the bottom of all these sheets. He was 
brave enough or arrogant enough to sign the ques- 


tionable one with his full name. This may speak 
well for him, and it may not. It is for you to decide 
that. Where will you look for him, Sweetwater? 
No one here knows his address." 

" Not Miss Challoner's maid? " 

"No; the name is a new one to her. But she 
made it very evident that she was not surprised to 
hear that her mistress was in secret correspondence 
with a member of the male sex. Much can be hid- 
den from servants, but not that." 

"I'll find the man; I have a double reason for 
doing that now; he shall not escape me." 

Dr. Heath expressed his satisfaction, and gave 
some orders. Meanwhile, Mr. Gryce had not ut- 
tered a word. 



THAT evening George sat so long over the news- 
papers that in spite of my absorbing interest in the 
topic engrossing me, I fell asleep in my cozy little 
rocking chair. I was awakened by what seemed 
like a kiss falling very softly on my forehead, though, 
to be sure, it may have been only the flap of George's 
coat sleeve as he stooped over me. 

" Wake up, k little woman," I heard, " and trot 
away to bed. I'm going out and may not be in till 

' You I going out ! at ten o'clock at night, tired as 
you are as we both are ! What has happened Oh ! " 

This broken exclamation escaped me as I per- 
ceived in the- dim background by the sitting-room 
door, the figure of a man who called up recent, but 
very thrilling experiences. 

" Mr. Sweetwater," explained George. " We are 
going out together. It is necessary, or you may be 
sure I should not leave you." 

I was quite wide awake enough by now to under- 
stand. " Oh, I know. You are going to hunt up 
the man. How I wish " 

But George did not wait for me to express my 
wishes. He gave me a little good advice as to how 
I had better employ my time in his absence, and 
was off before I could find words to answer. 



This ends all I have to say about myself; but the 
events of that night carefully related to me by 
George are important enough for me to describe 
them, with all the detail which is their rightful due. 
I shall tell the story as I have already been led to 
do in other portions of this narrative, as though I 
were present and shared the adventure. 

As soon as the two were in the street, the detective 
turned towards George and said : 

" Mr. Anderson, I have a great deal to ask of you. 
The business before us is not a simple one, and I 
fear that I shall have to subject you to more incon- 
venience than is customary in matters like this. Mr. 
Brotherson has vanished; that is, in his own proper 
person, but I have an idea that I am on the track of 
one who will lead us very directly to him if we man- 
age the affair carefully. What I want of you, of 
course, is mere identification. You saw the face of 
the man who washed his hands in the snow, and 
would know it again, you say. Do you think you 
could be quite sure of yourself, if the man were dif- 
ferently dressed and differently occupied? " 

" I think so. There's his height and a certain 
strong look in his face. I cannot describe it." 

' You don't need to. Come ! we're all right. 
You don't mind making a night of it? " 

" Not if it is necessary." 

' That we can't tell yet" And with a character- 
istic shrug and smile, the detective led the way to a 
taxicab which stood in waiting at the corner. 

A quarter of an hour of rather fast riding brought 
them into a tangle of streets on the East side. As 


George noticed the swarming sidewalks and listened 
to the noises incident to an over-populated quarter, 
he could not forbear, despite the injunction he had 
received, to express his surprise at the direction of 
their search. 

" Surely," said he, " the gentleman I have de- 
scribed can have no friends here." Then, bethink- 
ing himself, he added: " But if he has reasons to fear 
the law, naturally he would seek to lose himself in a 
place as different as possible from his usual haunts." 

" Yes, that would be some men's way," was the 
curt, almost indifferent, answer he received. Sweet- 
water was looking this way and that from the window 
beside him, and now, leaning out gave some direc- 
tions to the driver which altered their course. 

When they stopped, which was in a few minutes, 
he said to George: 

" We shall have to walk now for a block or two. 
I'm anxious to attract no attention, nor is it desir- 
able for you to do so. If you can manage to act as 
if you were accustomed to the place and just leave 
all the talking to me, we ought to get along first-rate. 
Don't be astonished at anything you see, and trust 
me for the rest; that's all." 

They alighted, and he dismissed the taxicab. Some 
clock in the neighbourhood struck the hour of ten. 

"Good! we shall be in time," muttered the de- 
tective, and led the way down the street and round 
a corner or so, till they came to a block darker than 
the rest, and much less noisy. 

It had a sinister look, and George, who is brave 
enough under all ordinary circumstances, was glad 


that his companion wore a badge and carried a whis- 
tle. He was also relieved when he caught sight of 
the burly form of a policeman in the shadow of one 
of the doorways. Yet the houses he saw before him 
were not so very different from those they had al- 
ready passed. His uneasiness could not have sprung 
from them. They had even an air of positive re- 
spectability, as though inhabited by industrious work- 
men. Then, what was it which made the close com- 
panionship of a member of the police so uncommonly 
welcome? Was it a certain aspect of solitariness 
which clung to the block, or was it the sudden ap- 
pearance here and there of strangely gliding figures, 
which no sooner loomed up against the snowy per- 
spective, than they disappeared again in some unseen 

' There's a meeting on to-night, of the Associated 
Brotherhood of the Awl, the Plane and the Trowel 
(whatever that means) , and it is the speaker we want 
to see ; the man who is to address them promptly at 
ten o'clock. Do you object to meetings? " 

" Is this a secret one? " 

" It wasn't advertised." 

" Are we carpenters or masons that we can count 
on admittance? " 

" I am a carpenter. Don't you think you can be a 
mason for the occasion? " 

"I doubt it, but " 

" Hush ! I must speak to this man." 

George stood back, and a few words passed be- 
tween Sweetwater and a shadowy figure which, 
seemed to have sprung up out of the sidewalk. 


" Balked at the outset," were the encouraging 
words with which the detective rejoined George. 
" It seems that a pass-word is necessary, and my 
friend has been unable to get it. Will the speaker 
pass out this way?" he inquired of the shadowy 
figure still lingering in their rear. 

" He didn't go in by it; yet I believe he's safe 
enough inside," was the muttered answer. 

Sweetwater had no relish for disappointments of 
this character, but it was not long before he straight- 
ened up and allowed himself to exchange a few more 
words with this mysterious person. These appeared 
to be of a more encouraging nature than the last, for 
it was not long before the detective returned with re- 
newed alacrity to George, and, wheeling him about, 
began to retrace his steps to the corner. 

" Are we going back? Are you going to give up 
the job? " George asked. 

"No; we're going to take him from the rear. 
There's a break in the fence Oh, we'll do very 
well. Trust me." 

George laughed. He was growing excited, but 
not altogether agreeably so. He says that he has 
seen moments of more pleasant anticipation. Evi- 
dently, my good husband is not cut out for detective 

Where they went under this officer's guidance, he 
cannot tell. The tortuous tangle of alleys through 
which he now felt himself led was dark as the nether 
regions to his unaccustomed eyes. There was snow 
under his feet and now and then he brushed against 
some obtruding object, or stumbled against a low 


fence; but beyond these slight miscalculations on his 
own part, he was a mere automaton in the hands of 
his eager guide, and only became his own man again 
when they suddenly stepped into an open yard and 
he could discern plainly before him the dark walls 
of a building pointed out by Sweetwater as their 
probable destination. Yet even here they encoun- 
tered some impediment which prohibited a close ap- 
proach. A wall or shed cut off their view of the 
building's lower storey; and though somewhat startled 
at being left unceremoniously alone after just a 
whispered word of encouragement from the ever 
ready detective, George could quite understand the' 
necessity which that person must feel for a quiet re- 
connoitring of the surroundings before the two of 
them ventured further forward in their possibly 
hazardous undertaking. Yet the experience was 
none too pleasing to George, and he was very glad to 
hear Sweetwater's whisper again at his ear, and to 
feel himself rescued from the pool of slush in which 
he had been left to stand. 

' The approach is not all that can be desired," re- 
marked the detective as they entered what appeared 
to be a low shed. " The broken board has been put 
back and securely nailed in place, and if I am not 
very much mistaken there is a fellow stationed in the 
yard who will want the pass-word too. Looks shady 
to me. I'll have something to tell the chief when I 
get back." 

" But we ! What are we going to do if we can- 
not get in front or rear ? " 

' We're going to wait right here in the hopes of 


catching a glimpse of our man as he comes out," re- 
turned the detective, drawing George towards a low 
window overlooking the yard he had described as 
sentinelled. " He will have to pass directly under 
this window on his way to the alley," Sweetwater 
went on to explain, " and if I can only raise it but 
the noise would give us away. I can't do that." 
" Perhaps it swings on hinges," suggested George. 
" It looks like that sort of a window." 

"If it should well! it does. We're in great 
luck, sir. But before I pull it open, remember that 
from the moment I unlatch it, everything said or 
done here can be heard in the adjoining yard. So no 
whispers and no unnecessary movements. When you 
hear him coming, as sooner or later you certainly 
will, fall carefully to your knees and lean out just 
far enough to catch a glimpse of him before he steps 
down from the porch. If he stops to light his cigar 
or to pass a few words with some of the men he will 
leave behind, you may get a plain enough view of his 
face or figure to identify him. The light is burning 
low in that rear hall, but it will do. If it does not, 
if you can't see him or if you do, don't hang out of 
the window more than a second. Duck after your 
first look. I don't want to be caught at this job 
with no better opportunity for escape than we have 
here. Can you remember all that? " 

George pinched his arm encouragingly, and Sweet- 
water, with an amused grunt, softly unlatched the 
window and pulled it wide open. 

A fine sleet flew in, imperceptible save for the sen- 
sation of damp it gave, and the slight haze it dif- 


fused through the air. Enlarged by this haze, the 
building they were set to watch rose in magnified 
proportions at their left. The yard between, piled 
high in the centre with snow-heaps or other heaps 
covered with snow, could not have been more than 
forty feet square. The window from which they 
peered, was half-way down this yard, so that a com- 
paratively short distance separated them from the 
porch where George had been told to look for the 
man he was expected to identify. All was dark there 
at present, but he could hear from time to time some 
sounds of restless movement, as the guard posted in- 
side shifted in his narrow quarters, or struck his be- 
numbed feet softly together. 

But what came to them from above was more in- 
teresting than anything to be heard or seen below. 
A man's voice, raised to a wonderful pitch by the 
passion of oratory, had burst the barriers of the 
closed hall in that towering third storey and was car- 
rying its tale to other ears than those within. Had 
it been summer and the windows open, both George 
and Sweetwater might have heard every word; for 
the tones were exceptionally rich and penetrating, 
and the speaker intent only on the impression he was 
endeavouring to make upon his audience. That he 
had not mistaken his power in this direction was 
evinced by the applause which rose from time to time 
from innumerable hands and feet. But this uproar 
would be speedily silenced, and the mellow voice ring 
out again, clear and commanding. What could the 
subject be to rouse such enthusiasm in the Associated 
Brotherhood of the Awl, the Plane and the Trowel? 


There was a moment when our listening friends ex- 
pected to be enlightened. A shutter was thrown 
back in one of those upper windows, and the window 
hurriedly raised, during which words took the place 
of sounds and they heard enough to whet their ap- 
petite for more. But only that. The shutter was 
speedily restored to place, and the window again 
closed. A wise precaution, or so thought George if 
they wished to keep their doubtful proceedings secret. 

A tirade against the rich and a loud call to battle 
could be gleaned from the few sentences they had 
heard. But its virulence and pointed attack was 
not that of the second-rate demagogue or business 
agent, but of a man whose intellect and culture rang 
in every tone, and informed each sentence. 

Sweetwater, in whom satisfaction was fast taking 
the place of impatience and regret, pushed the win- 
dow to before asking George this question : 

" Did you hear the voice of the man whose action 
attracted your attention outside the Clermont? " 

" No." 

" Did you note just now the large shadow dan- 
cing on the ceiling over the speaker's head? " 

" Yes, but I could judge nothing from that." 

" Well, he's a rum one. I shan't open this win- 
dow again till he gives signs of reaching the end of 
his speech. It's too cold." 

But almost immediately he gave a start and, 
pressing George's arm, appeared to listen, not to the 
speech which was no longer audible, but to something 
much nearer a step or movement in the adjoin- 
ing yard. At least, so George interpreted the quick 


turn which this impetuous detective made, and the 
pains he took to direct George's attention to the walk 
running under the window beneath which they 
crouched. Someone was stealing down upon the 
house at their left, from the alley beyond. A big 
man, whose shoulder brushed the window as he went 
by. George felt his hand seized again and pressed 
as this happened, and before he had recovered from 
this excitement, experienced another quick pressure 
and still another as one, two, three additional figures 
went slipping by. Then his hand was suddenly 
dropped, for a cry had shot up from the door where 
the sentinel stood guard, followed by a sudden loud 
slam, and the noise of a shooting bolt, which, pro- 
claiming as it did that the invaders were not friends 
but enemies to the cause which was being vaunted 
above, so excited Sweetwater that he pulled the win- 
dow wide open and took a bold look out. George 
followed his example and this was what they saw : 

Three men were standing flat against the fence 
leading from the shed directly to the porch. The 
fourth was crouching within the latter, and in an- 
other moment they heard his fist descend upon the 
door inside in a way to rouse the echoes. Mean- 
time, the voice in the audience hall above had ceased, 
and there could be heard instead the scramble of 
hurrying feet and the noise of overturning 
benches. Then a window flew up and a voice called 

; ' Who's that? What do you want down there? " 

But before an answer could be shouted back, this 

man was drawn fiercely inside, and the scramble was 


renewed, amid which George heard Sweetwater's 
whisper at his ear: 

" It's the police. The chief has got ahead of me. 
Was that the man we're after the one who 
shouted down? " 

" No. Neither was he the speaker. The voices 
are very different." 

" We want the speaker. If the boys get him, 
we're all right; but if they don't wait, I must 
make the matter sure." 

And with a bound he vaulted through the win- 
dow, whistling in a peculiar way. George, thus left 
quite alone, had the pleasure of seeing his sole pro- 
tector mix with the boys, as he called them, and ul- 
timately crowd in with them through the door which 
had finally been opened for their admittance. Then 
came a wait, and then the quiet re-appearance of the 
detective alone and in no very amiable mood. 

"Well?" inquired George, somewhat breath- 
lessly. " Do you want me? They don't seem to 
be coming out." 

" No; they've gone the other way. It was a red 
hot anarchist meeting, and no mistake. They have 
arrested one of the speakers, but the other escaped. 
How, we have not yet found out; but I think there's 
a way out somewhere by which he got the start of 
us. He was the man I wanted you to see. Bad 
luck, Mr. Anderson, but I'm not at the end of my 
resources. If you'll have patience with me and ac- 
company me a little further, I promise you that I'll 
only risk one more failure. Will you be so good, 



THE fellow had a way with him, hard to resist. 
Cold as George was and exhausted by an excitement 
of a kind to which he was wholly unaccustomed, he 
found himself acceding to the detective's request; 
and after a quick lunch and a huge cup of coffee in a 
restaurant which I wish I had time to describe, the two 
took a car which eventually brought them into one 
of the oldest quarters of the Borough of Brooklyn. 

The sleet which had stung their faces in the streets 
of New York had been left behind them somewhere 
on the bridge, but the chill was not gone from the 
air, and George felt greatly relieved when Sweetwater 
paused in the middle of a long block before a lofty 
tenement house of mean appearance, and signified 
that here they were to stop, and that from now on, 
mum was to be their watchword. 

George was relieved I say, but he was also more as- 
tonished than ever. What kind of haunts were these 
for the cultured gentleman who spent his evenings at 
the Clermont? It was easy enough in these days of 
extravagant sympathies, to understand such a man 
addressing the uneasy spirits of lower New York 
he had been called an enthusiast, and an enthusiast 
is very often a social agitator but to trace him 
afterwards to a place like this was certainly a sur- 



prise. A tenement such a tenement as this 
meant home home for himself or for those he 
counted his friends, and such a supposition seemed 
inconceivable to my poor husband, with the memory 
of the gorgeous parlours of the Clermont in his 
mind. Indeed, he hinted something of the kind to 
his affable but strangely reticent companion, but all 
the answer he got was a peculiar smile whose hu- 
morous twist he could barely discern in the semi- 
darkness of the open doorway into which they had 
just plunged. 

" An adventure ! certainly an adventure ! " flashed 
through poor George's mind, as he peered, in great 
curiosity down the long hall before him, into a dis- 
mal rear, opening into a still more dismal court. It 
was truly a novel experience for a business man 
whose philanthropy was carried on entirely by 
proxy that is, by his wife. Should he be expected 
to penetrate into those dark, ill-smelling recesses, or 
would he be led up the long flights of naked stairs, 
so feebly illuminated that they gave the impression of 
extending indefinitely into dimmer and dimmer 
heights of decay and desolation? 

Sweetwater seemed to decide for the rear, for 
leaving George, he stepped down the hall into the 
court beyond, where George could see him casting 
inquiring glances up at the walls above him. An- 
other tenement, similar to the one whose rear end 
he was contemplating, towered behind but he paid 
no attention to that. He was satisfied with the look 
he had given and came quickly back, joining George 


at the foot of the staircase, up which he silently led 
the way. 

It was a rude, none-to-well-cared-for building, but 
it seemed respectable enough and very quiet, consid- 
ering the mass of people it accommodated. There 
were marks of poverty everywhere, but no squalor. 
One flight two flights three and then 
George's guide stopped, and, looking back at him, 
made a gesture. It appeared to be one of caution, 
but when the two came together at the top of the 
staircase, Sweetwater spoke quite naturally as he 
pointed out a door in their rear : 

" That's the room. We'll keep a sharp watch 
and when any man, no matter what his dress or ap- 
pearance comes up these stairs and turns that way, 
give him a sharp look. You understand? " 

"Yes; but" 

" Oh, he hasn't come in yet. I took pains to find 
that out. You saw me go into the court and look 
up. That was to see if his window was lighted. 
Well, it wasn't." 

George felt non-plussed. 

" But surely," said he, " the gentleman named 
Brotherson doesn't live here." 

" The inventor does." 


" And but I will explain later." 

The suppressed excitement contained in these 
words made George stare. Indeed, he had been 
wondering for some time at the manner of the de- 
tective which showed a curious mixture of several 
opposing emotions. Now, the fellow was actually 


in a tremble of hope or impatience; and, not con- 
tent with listening, he peered every few minutes down 
the well of the staircase, and when he was not doing 
that, tramped from end to end of the narrow pas- 
sage-way separating the head of the stairs from the 
door he had pointed out, like one to whom minutes 
were hours. All this time he seemed to forget 
George who certainly had as much reason as himself 
for finding the time long. But when, after some 
half hour of this tedium and suspense, there rose 
from below the faint clatter of ascending footsteps, 
he remembered his meek companion and beckoning 
him to one side, began a studied conversation with 
him, showing him a note-book in which he had writ- 
ten such phrases as these : 

Don't look up till he is fairly in range with the light. 

There's nothing to fear; he doesn't know either of us. 

If it is a face you have seen before; if it is the one we 
are expecting to see, pull your necktie straight. It's a little 
on one side. 

These rather startling injunctions were read by 
George, with no very perceptible diminution of the 
uneasiness which it was only natural for him to feel 
at the oddity of his position. But only the demand 
last made produced any impression on him. The 
man they were waiting for was no further up than 
the second floor, but instinctively George's hand had 
flown to his necktie, and he was only stopped from 
its premature re-arrangement by a warning look from 


" Not unless you know him," whispered the de- 
tective; and immediately launched out into an easy 
talk about some totally different business which 
George neither understood, nor was expected to, I 
dare say. 

Suddenly the steps below paused, and George 
heard Sweetwater draw in his breath in irrepressible 
dismay. But they were immediately resumed, and 
presently the head and shoulders of a workingman 
of uncommon proportions appeared in sight on the 

George cast him a keen look, and his hand rose 
doubtfully to his neck and then fell back again. The 
approaching man was tall, very well-proportioned 
and easy of carriage; but the face such of it as 
could be seen between his cap and the high collar he 
had pulled up about his ears, conveyed no exact im- 
pression to George's mind, and he did not dare to 
give the signal Sweetwater expected from him. Yet 
as the man went by with a dark and sidelong glance 
at them both, he felt his hand rise again, though he 
did not complete the action, much to his own disgust 
and to the evident disappointment of the watchful 

'You're not sure?" he now heard, oddly inter- 
polated in the stream of half-whispered talk with 
which the other endeavoured to carry off the situa- 

George shook his head. He could not rid himself 
of the old impression he had formed of the man in 
the snow. 

" Mr. Dunn, a word with you," suddenly spoke 


up Sweetwater, to the man who had just passed 
them. " That's your name, isn't it? " 

" Yes, that is my name," was the quiet response, 
in a voice which was at once rich and resonant; a 
voice which George knew the voice of the im- 
passioned speaker he had heard resounding through 
the sleet as he cowered within hearing in the shed be- 
hind the Avenue A tenement. " Who are you who 
wish to speak to me at so late an hour? " 

He was returning to them from the door he had 
unlocked and left slightly ajar. 

" Well, we are You know what," smiled the 
ready detective, advancing half-way to greet him. 
" We're not members of the Associated Brotherhood, 
but possibly have hopes of being so. At all events, 
we should like to talk the matter over, if, as you 
say, it's not too late." 

" I have nothing to do with the club " 

" But you spoke before it." 

" Yes." 

" Then you can give us some sort of an idea how 
we are to apply for membership." 

Mr. Dunn met the concentrated gaze of his two 
evidently unwelcome visitors with a frankness which 
dashed George's confidence in himself, but made lit- 
tle visible impression upon his daring companion. 

" I should rather see you at another time," said 
he. " But " his hesitation was inappreciable save 
to the nicest ear " if you will allow me to be brief, 
I will tell you what I know which is very little." 

Sweetwater was greatly taken aback. All he had 
looked for, as he was careful to tell my husband later, 


was a sufficiently prolonged conversation to enable 
George to mark and study the workings of the face he 
was not yet sure of. Nor did the detective feel quite 
easy at the readiness of his reception; nor any too 
well pleased to accept the invitation which this man 
now gave them to enter his room. 

But he suffered no betrayal of his misgivings to 
escape him, though he was careful to intimate to 
George, as they waited in the doorway for the other 
to light up, that he should not be displeased at his 
refusal to accompany him further in this adventure, 
and even advised him to remain in the hall till he re- 
ceived his summons to enter. 

But George had not come as far as this to back out 
now, and as soon as he saw Sweetwater advance into 
the now well-lighted interior, he advanced too and 
began to look around him. 

The room, like many others in these old-fashioned 
tenements, had a jog just where the door was, so 
that on entering they had to take several steps be- 
fore they could get a full glimpse of its four walls. 
When they did, both showed surprise. Comfort, if 
not elegance, confronted them, which impression, 
however, was immediately lost in the evidences of 
work, manual, as well as intellectual, which were 
everywhere scattered about. 

The man who lived here was not only a student, as 
was evinced by a long wall full of books, but he was 
an art-lover, a musician, an inventor and an athlete. 
So much could be learned from the most cursory 
glance. A more careful one picked up other facts 
fully as startling and impressive. The books were 


choice; the invention to all appearance a practical 
one; the art of a high order and the music, such as 
was in view, of a character of which the nicest taste 
need not be ashamed. 

George began to feel quite conscious of the intru- 
sion of which they had been guilty, and was amazed 
at the ease with which the detective carried himself 
in the presence of such manifestations of culture and 
good, hard work. He was trying to recall the exact 
appearance of the figure he had seen stooping in the 
snowy street two nights before, when he found him- 
self staring at the occupant of the room, who had 
taken up his stand before them and was regarding 
them while they were regarding the room. 

He had thrown aside his hat and rid himself of 
his overcoat, and the fearlessness of his aspect 
seemed to daunt the hitherto dauntless Sweetwater, 
who, for the first time in his life, perhaps, hunted 
in vain for words with which to start conversa- 

Had he made an awful mistake? Was this Mr. 
Dunn what he seemed, an unknown and careful 
genius, battling with great odds in his honest strug- 
gle to give the world something of value in return 
for what it had given him? The quick, almost dep- 
recatory glance he darted at George betrayed his 
dismay; a dismay which George had begun to share, 
notwithstanding his growing belief that the man's 
face was not wholly unknown to him even if he could 
not recognise it as the one he had seen outside the 

" You seem to have forgotten your errand," came 


in quiet, if not good-natured, sarcasm from their 
patiently waiting host. 

" It's the room," muttered Sweetwater, with an 
attempt at his old-time ease which was not as fully 
successful as usual. " What an all-fired genius you 
must be. I never saw the like. And in a tenement 
house too! You ought to be in one of those big 
new studio buildings in New York where artists be 
and everything you see is beautiful. You'd appre- 
ciate it, you would." 

The detective started, George started, at the 
gleam which answered him from a very uncommon 
eye. It was a temporary flash, however, and quickly 
veiled, and the tone in which this Dunn now spoke 
was anything but an encouraging one. 

" I thought you were desirous of joining a social- 
istic fraternity," said he; "a true aspirant for such 
honours don't care for beautiful things unless all can 
have them. I prefer my tenement. How is it with 
you, friends? " 

Sweetwater found some sort of a reply, though 
the thing which this man now did must have startled 
him, as it certainly did George. They were so 
grouped that a table quite full of anomalous objects 
stood at the back of their host, and consequently 
quite beyond their own reach. As Sweetwater be- 
gan to speak, he whom he had addressed by the name 
of Dunn, drew a pistol from his breast pocket and 
laid it down barrel towards them on this table top. 
Then he looked up courteously enough, and listened 
till Sweetwater was done. A very handsome man, 
but one not to be trifled with in the slightest degree. 


Both recognised this fact, and George, for one, began 
to edge towards the door. 

" Now I feel easier," remarked the giant, swelling 
out his chest. He was unusually tall, as well as un- 
usually muscular. " I never like to carry arms ; 
but sometimes it is unavoidable. Damn it, what 
hands ! " He was looking at his own, which cer- 
tainly showed soil. "Will you pardon me?" he 
pleasantly apologised, stepping towards a wash- 
stand and plunging his hands into the basin. " I 
cannot think with dirt on me like that. Humph, 
hey! did you speak? " 

He turned quickly on George who had certainly 
uttered an ejaculation, but receiving no reply, went 
on with his task, completing it with a care and a 
disregard of their presence which showed him up in 
still another light. 

But even his hardihood showed shock, when, upon 
turning round with a brisk, " Now I'm ready to 
talk," he encountered again the clear eye of Sweet- 
water. For, in the person of this none too welcome 
intruder, he saw a very different man from the one 
upon whom he had just turned his back with so little 
ceremony; and there appeared to be no good reason 
for the change. He had not noted in his preoccu- 
pation, how George, at sight of his stooping figure, 
had made a sudden significant movement, and if he 
had, the pulling of a necktie straight, would have 
meant nothing to him. But to Sweetwater it meant 
every thing, and it was in the tone of one fully at ease 
with himself that he now dryly remarked: 

41 Mr. Brotherson, if you feel quite clean, and if 


you have sufficiently warmed yourself, I would sug- 
gest that we start out at once, unless you prefer to 
have me share this room with you till the morning." 

There was silence. Mr. Dunn thus addressed at- 
tempted no answer ; not for a full minute. The two 
men were measuring each other George felt that 
he did not count at all and they were quite too 
much occupied with this task to heed the passage 
of time. To George, who knew little, if anything, 
of what this silent struggle meant to either, it seemed 
that the detective stood no show before this Samson 
of physical strength and intellectual power, backed 
by a pistol just within reach of his hand. But as 
George continued to look and saw the figure of the 
smaller man gradually dilate, while that of the 
larger, the more potent and the better guarded, gave 
unmistakable signs of secret wavering, he slowly 
changed his mind and, ranging himself with the 
detective, waited for the word or words which should 
explain this situation and render intelligible the 
triumph gradually becoming visible in the young de- 
tective's eyes. 

But he was not destined to have his curiosity satis- 
fied so far. He might witness and hear, but it was 
long before he understood. 

" Brotherson ? " repeated their host, after the 
silence had lasted to the breaking-point. " Why do 
you call me that? " 

" Because it is your name." 

' You called me Dunn a minute ago." 

" That is true." 
' Why Dunn if Brotherson is my name? " 


" Because you spoke under the name of Dunn at 
the meeting to-night, and if I don't mistake, that is 
the name by which you are known here." 

" And you? By what name are you known? " 

"It is late to ask, isn't it? But I'm willing to 
speak it now, and I might not have been so a little 
earlier in our conversation. I am Detective Sweet- 
water of the New York Department of Police, and 
my errand here is a very simple one. Some let- 
ters signed by you have been found among the papers 
of the lady whose mysterious death at the hotel Cler- 
mont is just now occupying the attention of the New 
York authorities. If you have any information to 
give which will in any way explain that death, your 
presence will be welcome at Coroner Heath's office 
in New York. If you have not, your presence will 
still be welcome. At all events, I was told to bring 
you. You will be on hand to accompany me in the 
morning, I am quite sure, pardoning the unconven- 
tional means I have taken to make sure of my man? " 

The humour with which this was said seemed to 
rob it of anything like attack, and Mr. Brotherson, 
as we shall hereafter call him, smiled with an odd 
acceptance of the same, as he responded: 

" I will go before the police certainly. I haven't 
much to tell, but what I have is at their service. It 
will not help you, but I have no secrets. What are 
you doing? " 

He bounded towards Sweetwater, who had simply 
stepped to the window, lifted the shade and looked 
across at the opposing tenement. 

" I wanted to see if it was still snowing," ex- 


plained the detective, with a smile, which seemed to 
strike the other like a blow. " If it was a liberty, 
please pardon it." 

Mr. Brotherson drew back. The cold air of self- 
possession which he now assumed, presented such a 
contrast to the unwarranted heat of the moment be- 
fore that George wondered greatly over it, and later, 
when he recapitulated to me the whole story of this 
night, it was this incident of the lifted shade, to- 
gether with the emotion it had caused, which he ac- 
knowledged as being for him the most inexplicable 
event of the evening and the one he was most anxious 
to hear explained. 

As this ends our connection with this affair, I will 
bid you my personal farewell. I have often wished 
that circumstances had made it possible for me to ac- 
company you through the remaining intricacies of this 
remarkable case. 

But you will not lack a suitable guide. 




AT an early hour the next morning, Sweetwater 
stood before the coroner's desk, urging a plea he 
feared to hear refused. He wished to be present at 
the interview soon to be held with Mr. Brotherson, 
and he had no good reason to advance why such a 
privilege should be allotted him. 

" It's not curiosity," said he. " There's a ques- 
tion I hope to see settled. I can't communicate it 
you would laugh at me ; but it's an important one, a 
very important one, and I beg that you will let me 
sit in one of the corners and hear what he says. I 
won't bother and I'll be very still, so still that 
he'll hardly notice me. Do grant me this favour, 

The coroner, who had had some little experience 
with this man, surveyed him with a smile less for- 
bidding than the poor fellow expected. 

" You seem to lay great store by it," said he; " if 
you want to sort those papers over there, you may." 

" Thank you. I don't understand the job, but I 
promise you not to increase the confusion. If I do; 
if I rattle the leaves too loudly, it will mean, ' Press 
him further on this exact point,' but I doubt if I 
rattle them, sir. No such luck." 

The last three words were uttered sotto voce, but 
the coroner heard him, and followed his ungainly 



figure with a glance of some curiosity, as he settled 
himself at the desk on the other side of the room. 

" Is the man " he began, but at this moment 
the man entered, and Dr. Heath forgot the young 
detective, in his interest in the new arrival. 

Neither dressed with the elegance known to the 
habitues of the Clermont, nor yet in the workman's 
outfit in which he had thought best to appear before 
the Associated Brotherhood, the newcomer advanced, 
with an aspect of open respect which could not fail 
to make a favourable impression upon the critical eye 
of the official awaiting him. So favourable, indeed, 
was this impression that that gentleman half rose, 
infusing a little more consideration into his greeting 
than he was accustomed to show to his prospective 
witnesses. Such a fearless eye he had seldom en- 
countered, nor was it often his pleasure to confront 
so conspicuous a specimen of physical and intellectual 

" Mr. Brotherson, I believe," said he, as he mo- 
tioned his visitor to sit. 

" That is my name, sir." 

"Orlando Brotherson?" 

4 The same, sir." 

" I'm glad we have made no mistake," smiled the 
doctor. u Mr. Brotherson, I have sent for you 
under the supposition that you were a friend of the 
unhappy lady lately dead at the Hotel Clermont." 

"Miss Challoner?" 

" Certainly; Miss Challoner." 

" I knew the lady. But " here the speaker's 
eye took on a look as questioning as that of his inter- 


locator " but in a way so devoid of all publicity 
that I cannot but feel surprised that the fact should 
be known." 

At this, the listening Sweetwater hoped that Dr. 
Heath would ignore the suggestion thus conveyed and 
decline the explanation it apparently demanded. 
But the impression made by the gentleman's good 
looks had been too strong for this coroner's proverb- 
ial caution, and, handing over the slip of a note 
which had been found among Miss Challoner's effects 
by her father, he quietly asked: 

" Do you recognise the signature? " 

" Yes, it is mine." 

' Then you acknowledge yourself the author of 
these lines? " 

" Most certainly. Have I not said that this is 
my signature? " 

" Do you remember the words of this note, Mr. 

" Hardly. I recollect its tenor, but not the exact 

" Read them." 

" Excuse me, I had rather not. I am aware that 
they were bitter and should be the cause of great 
regret. I was angry when I wrote them." 

' That is evident. But the cause of your anger 
is not so clear, Mr. Brotherson. Miss Challoner 
was a woman of lofty character, or such was the uni- 
versal opinion of her friends. What could she have 
done to a gentleman like yourself to draw forth such 
a tirade? " 

"You ask that?" 


" I am obliged to. There is mystery surround- 
ing her death; the kind of mystery which demands 
perfect frankness on the part of all who were near 
her on that evening, or whose relations to her were in 
any way peculiar. You acknowledge that your 
friendship was of such a guarded nature that it sur- 
prised you greatly to hear it recognised. Yet you 
could write her a letter of this nature. Why? " 

" Because " the word came glibly; but the next 
one was long in following. " Because," he repeated, 
letting the fire of some strong feeling disturb for a 
moment his dignified reserve, " I offered myself to 
Miss Challoner, and she dismissed me with great dis- 

" Ah ! and so you thought a threat was due her? " 

"A threat?" 

' These words contain a threat, do they not? " 
' They may. I was hardly master of myself at 
the time. I may have expressed myself in an un- 
fortunate manner." 

" Read the words, Mr. Brotherson. I really must 
insist that you do so." 

There was no hesitancy now. Rising, he leaned 
over the table and read the few words the other had 
spread out for his perusal. Then he slowly rose 
to his full height, as he answered, with some slight 
display of compunction: 

" I remember it perfectly now. It is not a letter 
to be proud of. I hope " 

" Pray finish, Mr. Brotherson." 
' That you are not seeking to establish a connec- 
tion between this letter and her violent death? " 


" Letters of this sort are often very mischievous, 
Mr. Brotherson. The harshness with which this is 
written might easily rouse emotions of a most un- 
happy nature in the breast of a woman as sensitive as 
Miss Challoner." 

" Pardon me, Dr. Heath; I cannot flatter myself 
so far. You overrate my influence with the lady you 

' You believe, then, that she was sincere in her re- 
jection of your addresses? " 

A start, too slight to be noted by any one but the 
watchful Sweetwater, showed that this question had 
gone home. But the self-poise and mental control 
of this man were perfect, and in an instant he was 
facing the coroner again, with a dignity which gave 
no clew to the disturbance into which his thoughts 
had just been thrown. Nor was this disturbance ap- 
parent in his tones when he made his reply : 

" I have never allowed myself to think otherwise. 
I have seen no reason why I should. The suggestion 
you would convey by such a question is hardly wel- 
come, now. I pray you to be careful in your judg- 
ment of such a woman's impulses. They often 
spring from sources not to be sounded even by her 
dearest friends." 

Just ; but how cold ! Dr. Heath, eyeing him with 
admiration rather than sympathy, hesitated how to 
proceed; while Sweetwater, peering up from his 
papers, sought in vain for some evidence of the be- 
reaved lover in the impressive but wholly dispassion- 
ate figure of him who had just spoken. Had pride 
got the better of his heart? or had that organ always 


been subordinate to the will in this man of instincts 
so varying, that at one time he impressed you simply 
as a typical gentleman of leisure; at another, as no 
more than a fiery agitator with powers absorbed by, 
if not limited to the one cause he advocated; and 
again and this seemed the most contradictory of 
all just the ardent inventor, living in a tenement, 
with Science for his goddess and work always under 
his hand? As the young detective weighed these pos- 
sibilities and marvelled over the contradictions they 
offered, he forgot the papers now lying quiet under 
his hand. He was too interested to remember his 
own part something which could not often be 
said of Sweetwater. 

Meantime, the coroner had collected his thoughts. 
With an apology for the extremely personal nature 
of his inquiry, he asked Mr. Brotherson if he would 
object to giving him some further details of his ac- 
quaintanceship with Miss Challoner; where he first 
met her and under what circumstances their friend- 
ship had developed. 

" Not at all," was the ready reply. " I have noth- 
ing to conceal in the matter. I only wish that her 
father were present that he might listen to the recital 
of my acquaintanceship with his daughter. He 
might possibly understand her better and regard with 
more leniency the presumption into which I was led 
by my ignorance of the pride inherent in great 

' Your wish can very easily be gratified," returned 
the official, pressing an electric button on his desk; 
" Mr. Challoner is in the adjoining room." Then, 


as the door communicating with the room he had 
mentioned swung ajar and stood so, Dr. Heath 
added, without apparent consciousness of the dra- 
matic character of this episode, " You will not need to 
raise your voice beyond its natural pitch. He can 
hear perfectly from where he sits." 

" Thank you. I am glad to speak in his pres- 
ence," came in undisturbed self-possession from this 
not easily surprised witness. " I shall relate the 
facts exactly as they occurred, adding nothing and 
concealing nothing. If I mistook my position, or 
Miss Challoner's position, it is not for me to apolo- 
gise. I never hid my business from her, nor the 
moderate extent of my fortune. If she knew me 
at all, she knew me for what I am; a man of the 
people who glories in work and who has risen by it 
to a position somewhat unique in this city. I feel no 
lack of equality even with such a woman as Miss 

A most unnecessary preamble, no doubt, and of 
doubtful efficacy in smoothing his way to a correct 
understanding with the deeply bereaved father. 
But he looked so handsome as he thus asserted him- 
self and made so much of his inches and the noble 
poise of his head though cold of eye and always 
cold of manner that those who saw, as well as 
heard him, forgave this display of egotism in con- 
sideration of its honesty and the dignity it imparted 
to his person. 

" I first met Miss Challoner in the Berkshires," he 
began, after a moment of quiet listening for any pos- 
sible sound from the other room. " I had been on 


the tramp, and had stopped at one of the great 
hotels for a seven days' rest. I will acknowledge 
that I chose this spot at the instigation of a relative 
who knew my tastes and how perfectly they might 
be gratified there. That I should mingle with the 
guests may not have been in his thought, any more 
than it was in mine at the beginning of my stay. 
The panorama of beauty spread out before me on 
every side was sufficient in itself for my enjoyment, 
and might have continued so to the end if my atten- 
tion had not been very forcibly drawn on one memo** 
able morning to a young lady Miss Challoner 
by the very earnest look she gave me as I was 
crossing the office from one verandah to another. I 
must insist on this look, even if it shock the delicacy 
of my listeners, for without the interest it awakened 
in me, I might not have noticed the blush with which 
she turned aside to join her friends on the verandah. 
It was an overwhelming blush which could not have 
sprung from any slight embarrassment, and, though 
I hate the pretensions of those egotists who see in 
a woman's smile more than it by right conveys, I 
could not help being moved by this display of feeling 
in one so gifted with every grace and attribute of the 
perfect woman. With less caution than I usually 
display, I approached the desk where she had been 
standing and, meeting the eyes of the clerk, asked 
the young lady's name. He gave it, and waited for 
me to express the surprise he expected it to evoke. 
But I felt none and showed none. Other feelings 
had seized me. I had heard of this gracious woman 
from many sources, in my life among the suffering 


masses of New York, and now that I had seen her 
and found her to be not only my ideal of personal 
loveliness but seemingly approachable and not un- 
interested in myself, I allowed my fancy to soar and 
my heart to become touched. A fact which the clerk 
now confided to me naturally deepened the impres- 
sion. Miss Challoner had seen my name in the 
guest-book and asked to have me pointed out to her. 
Perhaps she had heard my name spoken in the same 
quarter where I had heard hers. We have never 
exchanged confidences on the subject, and I cannot 
say. I can only give you my reason for the interest 
I felt in Miss Challoner and why I forgot, in the 
glamour of this episode, the aims and purposes of a 
not unambitious life and the distance which the 
world and the so-called aristocratic class put between 
a woman of her wealth and standing and a simple 
worker like myself. 

" I must be pardoned. She had smiled upon me 
once, and she smiled again. Days before we were 
formally presented, I caught her softened look turned 
my way, as we passed each other in hall or corridor. 
We were friends, or so it appeared to me, before ever 
a word passed between us, and when fortune 
favoured us and we were duly introduced, our minds 
met in a strange sympathy which made this one inter- 
view a memorable one to me. Unhappily, as I then 
considered it, this was my last day at the hotel, and 
our conversation, interrupted frequently by passing 
acquaintances, was never resumed. I exchanged a 
few words with her by way of good-bye but nothing 
more. I came to New York, and she remained in 


Lenox. A month after and she too came to New 

"This good-bye do you remember it? The 
exact language, I mean? " 

"I do; it made a great impression on me. 'I 
shall hope for our further acquaintance,' she said. 
' We have one very strong interest in common/ 
And if ever a human face spoke eloquently, it was 
hers at that moment. The interest, as I understood 
it, was our mutual sympathy for our toiling, half- 
starved, down-trodden brothers and sisters in the 
lower streets of this city ; but the eloquence that I 
probably mistook. I thought it sprang from 
personal interest, and it gave me courage to pursue 
the intention which had taken the place of every 
other feeling and ambition by which I had hitherto 
been moved. Here was a woman in a thousand; 
one who could make a man of me indeed. If she 
could ignore the social gulf between us, I felt free to 
take the leap. Cowardice had never been a fault of 
mine. But I was no fool even then. I realised that 
I must first let her see the manner of man I was 
and what life meant to me and must mean to her if 
the union I contemplated should become an actual 
fact. I wrote letters to her, but I did not give her 
my address or even request a reply. I was not ready 
for any word from her. I am not like other men 
and I could wait. And I did, for weeks, then I 
suddenly appeared at her hotel." 

The change of voice the bitterness which he in- 
fused into this final sentence made every one look up. 
Hitherto he had spoken calmly, almost monotonously, 


as if no present heart-beat responded to this tale of 
vanished love ; but with the words, " Then I suddenly 
appeared at her hotel," he showed himself human 
again, and betrayed a passion which though curbed 
was of the fiery quality, befitting his extraordinary 
attributes of mind and person. 

"This was when?" put in Dr. Heath, anxious 
to bridge the pause which must have been very pain- 
ful to the listening father. 

" The week after Thanksgiving. I did not see 
her the first day, and only casually the second. But 
she knew I was in the building, and when I came 
upon her one evening seated at the very desk in the 
mezzanine which we all have such bitter cause to 
remember, I could not forbear expressing myself in 
a way she could not misunderstand. The result was 
of a kind to drive a man like myself to an extremity 
of self-condemnation and rage. She rose up as if 
insulted, and flung me one sentence and one sentence 
only before she hailed the elevator and left my pres- 
ence. A cur could not have been dismissed with less 

' That is not like my daughter. What was the 
sentence you allude to? Let me hear the very 
words." Mr. Challoner had come forward and now 
stood awaiting his reply, a dignified but pathetic 
figure, which all must view with respect. 

" I hate the memory of them, but since you de- 
mand it, I will repeat them just as they fell from her 
lips," was Mr. Brotherson's bitter retort. " She 
said, ' You of all men should recognise the unseemli- 
ness of these proposals. Had your letters given me 


any hint of the feelings you have just expressed, you 
would never have had this opportunity of approach- 
ing me.' That was all; but her indignation was 
scathing. Ladies who have supped exclusively off 
silver, show a fine scorn for the common ware of the 

Mr. Challoner bowed. " There is some mistake," 
said he. " My daughter might be averse to your 
addresses, but she would never show indignation to 
any aspirant for her hand, simply on account of ex- 
traneous conditions. She had wide sympathies 
wider than I often approved. Something in your 
conduct or the confidence you showed shocked her 
nicer sense; not your lack of the luxuries she often 
misprised. This much I feel obliged to say, out of 
justice to her character, which was uniformly con- 

' You have seen her with men of her own world 
and yours," was the harsh response. " She had an- 
other side to her nature for the man of a different 
sphere. And it killed my love that you can see 
and led to my sending her the injudicious letter with 
which you have confronted me. The hurt bull ut- 
ters one bellow before he dies. I bellowed, and 
bellowed loudly, but I did not die. I'm my own 
man still and mean to remain so." 

The assertive boldness some would call it 
bravado with which he thus finished the story of 
his relations with the dead heiress, seemed to be 
more than Mr. Challoner could stand. With a look 
of extreme pain and perplexity he vanished from the 
doorway, and it fell to Dr. Heath to inquire : 


" Is this letter a letter of threat you will re- 
member the only communication which passed be- 
tween you and Miss Challoner after this unfortunate 
passage of arms at the Clermont? " 

' Yes. I had no wish to address her again. I 
had exhausted in this one outburst whatever humilia- 
tion I felt." 

"And she? Did she give no sign, make you 
no answer? " 

" None whatever." Then, as if he found it im- 
possible to hide this hurt to his pride, " She did not 
even seem to consider me worthy the honour of an 
added rebuke. Such arrogance is, no doubt, com- 
mendable in a Challoner." 

This time his bitterness did not pass unrebuked by 
the coroner: " Remember the grey hairs of the only 
Challoner who can hear you, and respect his grief." 

Mr. Brotherson bowed. 

" I have finished," said he. " I shall have noth- 
ing more to say on the subject." And he drew him- 
self up in expectation of the dismissal he evidently 
thought pending. 

But the coroner was not done with him by any 
means. He had a theory in regard to this lament- 
able suicide which he hoped to establish by this man's 
testimony, and, in pursuit of this plan, he not only 
motioned to Mr. Brotherson to reseat himself, but 
began at once to open a fresh line of examination by 

" You will pardon me, if I press this matter. I 
have been given to understand that notwithstanding 
your break with Miss Challoner, you have kept up 


your visits to the Clermont and were even on the 
spot at the time of her death." 

" On the spot? " 

" In the hotel, I mean." 

"There you are right; I was in the hotel." 

" At the time of her death ? " 

" Very near the time. I remember hearing 
some disturbance in the lobby behind me, just as I 
was passing out at the Broadway entrance." 

" You did, and did not return? " 

" Why should I return? I am not a man of much 
curiosity. There was no reason why I should con- 
nect a sudden alarm in the lobby of the Clermont 
with any cause of special interest to myself." 

This was so true and the look which accompanied 
the words was so frank that the coroner hesitated 
a moment before he said: 

"Certainly not, unless well, to be direct, un- 
less you had just seen Miss Challoner and knew her 
state of mind and what was likely to follow your 
abrupt departure." 

" I had no interview with Miss Challoner." 

" But you saw her? Saw her that evening and 
just before the accident?" 

Sweetwater's papers rattled ; it was the only sound 
to be heard in that moment of silence. Then 

' What do you mean by those words? " inquired 
Mr. Brotherson, with studied composure. " I have 
said that I had no interview with Miss Challoner. 
Why do you ask me then, if I saw her? " 

" Because I believe that you did. From a dis- 


tance possibly, but yet directly and with no possi- 
bility of mistake." 

" Do you put that as a question? " 

"I do. Did you see her figure or face that 

11 1 did." 

Nothing not even the rattling of Sweetwater's 
papers disturbed the silence which followed this 

" From where? " Dr. Heath asked at last. 

" From a point far enough away to make any com- 
munication between us impossible. I do not think 
you will require me to recall the exact spot." 

" If it were one which made it possible for her to 
see you as clearly as you could see her, I think it would 
be very advisable for you to say so." 

" It was such a spot." 

" Then I think I can locate it for you, or do you 
prefer to locate it yourself? " 

" I will locate it myself. I had hoped not to be 
called upon to mention what I cannot but consider 
a most unfortunate coincidence. As a gentleman you 
will understand my reticence and also why it is a 
matter of regret to me that with an acumen worthy 
of your position, you should have discovered a fact 
which, while it cannot explain Miss Challoner's 
death, will drag our little affair before the public, 
and possibly give it a prominence in some minds 
which I am sure does not belong to it. I met Miss 
Challoner's eye for one instant from the top of the 
little staircase running up to the mezzanine. I had 


yielded thus far to an impulse I had frequently corn- 
batted, to seek by another interview to retrieve the 
bad effect which must have been made upon her by 
my angry note. I knew that she frequently wrote 
letters in the mezzanine at this hour, and got as far 
as the top of the staircase in my effort to join her. 
But I got no further. When I saw her on her feet, 
with her face turned my way, I remembered the scorn 
with which she had received my former heart-felt pro- 
posals and, without taking another step forward, I 
turned away from her and fled down the steps and 
so out of the building by the main entrance. She saw 
me, for her hand flew up with a startled gesture, but 
I cannot think that my presence on the same floor 
with her could have caused her to strike the blow 
which terminated her life. Why should I? No 
woman sacrifices her life out of mere regret for the 
disdain she has shown a man she has taken no pains 
to understand." 

His tone and his attitude seemed to invite the 
concurrence of Dr. Heath in this statement. But 
the richness of the one and the grace of the other 
showed the handsome speaker off to such advantage 
that the coroner was rather inclined to consider how 
a woman, even of Miss Challoner's fine taste and 
careful breeding, might see in such a situation much 
for regret, if not for active despair and the suicidal 
act. He gave no evidence of his thought, however, 
but followed up the one admission made by Mr. 
Brotherson which he and others must naturally view 
as of the first importance. 


" You saw Miss Challoner lift her hand, you say. 
Which hand, and what was in it? Anything? " 

" She lifted her right hand, but it would be impos- 
sible for me to tell you whether there was anything 
in it or not. I simply saw the movement before I 
turned away. It looked like one of alarm to me. I 
felt that she had some reason for this. She could 
not know that it was in repentance I came rather than 
in fulfilment of my threat." 

A sigh from the adjoining room. Mr. Brother- 
son rose, as he heard it, and in doing so met the clear 
eye of Sweetwater fixed upon his own. Its language 
was, no doubt, peculiar and it seemed to fascinate 
him for a moment, for he started as if to approach 
the detective, but forsook this intention almost im- 
mediately, and addressing the coroner, gravely re- 

" Her death following so quickly upon this abor- 
tive attempt of mine at an interview startled me by 
its coincidence as much as it does you. If in the 
weakness of her woman's nature, it was more than this 
if the scorn she had previously shown me was a 
cloak she instinctively assumed to hide what she was 
not ready to disclose, my remorse will be as great as 
any one here could wish. But the proof of all this 
will have to be very convincing before my present 
convictions will yield to it. Some other and more 
poignant source will have to be found for that in- 
stant's impulsive act than is supplied by this story 
of my unfortunate attachment." 

Dr. Heath was convinced, but he was willing to 


concede something to the secret demand made upon 
him by Sweetwater, who was bundling up his papers 
with much clatter. 

Looking up with a smile which had elements in it 
he was hardly conscious of perhaps himself, he asked 
in an off-hand way : 

" Then why did you take such pains to wash your 
hands of the affair the moment you had left the 

" I do not understand." 

" You passed around the corner into street, 

did you not? " 

" Very likely. I could go that way as well as an- 

" And stopped at the first lamp-post? " 

" Oh, I see. Someone saw that childish action of 

" What did you mean by it? " 

" Just what you have suggested. I did go through 
the pantomime of washing my hands of an affair I 
considered definitely ended. I had resisted an ir- 
repressible impulse to see and talk with Miss Chal- 
loner again, and was pleased with my firmness. Un- 
aware of the tragic blow which had just fallen, I was 
full of self-congratulations at my escape from the 
charm which had lured me back to this hotel again 
and again in spite of my better judgment, and I 
wished to symbolise my relief by an act of which I 
was, in another moment, ashamed. Strange that 
there should have been a witness to it. (Here he 
stole a look at Sweetwater.) Stranger still, that 
circumstances by the most extraordinary of coinci- 


dences, should have given so unforeseen a point to 

" You are right, Mr. Brotherson. The whole oc- 
currence is startling and most strange. But life is 
made up of the unexpected, as none know better than 
we physicians, whether our practice be of a public or 
private character." 

As Mr. Brotherson left the room, the curiosity to 
which he had yielded once before, led him to cast a 
glance of penetrating inquiry behind him full at 
Sweetwater, and if either felt embarrassment, it was 
not the hunted but the hunter. 

But the feeling did not last. 

" I've simply met the strongest man I've ever en- 
countered," was Sweetwater's encouraging comment 
to himself. " All the more glory if I can find a 
joint in his armour or a hidden passage to his cold, 
secretive heart." 



" MR. Gryce, I am either a fool or the luckiest fel- 
low going. You must decide which." 

The aged detective, thus addressed, laid down his 
evening paper and endeavoured to make out the dim 
form he could just faintly discern standing between 
him and the library door. 

" Sweetwater, is that you ? " 

" No one else. Swestwater, the fool, or Sweet- 
water, much too wise fcr his own good. I don't 
know which. Perhaps you can find out and tell me." 

A grunt from the region of the library table, then 
the sarcastic remark: 

" I'm just in the mood to settle that question. 
This last failure to my account ought to make me an 
excellent judge of another's folly. I've meddled 
with the old business for the last time, Sweetwater. 
You'll have to go it rlone from now on. The De- 
partment has no more work for Ebenezar Gryce, or 
rather Ebenezar Gryce will make no more fool at- 
tempts to please them. Strange that a man don't 
know when his time has come to quit. I remember 
how I once scored Yeardsley for hanging on after he 
had lost his grip ; and here am I doing the same thing. 
But what's the matter with you ? Speak out, my boy. 
Something new in the wind? " 

' No, Mr. Gryce; nothing new. It's the same old 


business. But, if what I suspect is true, this same 
old business offers opportunities for some very inter- 
esting and unusual effort. You're not satisfied with 
the coroner's verdict in the Challoner case? " 

" No. I'm satisfied with nothing that leaves all 
ends dangling. Suicide was not proved. It seemed 
the only presumption possible, but it was not proved. 
There was no blood-stain on that cutter-point." 

" Nor any evidence that it had ever been there." 

" No. I'm not proud of the chain which lacks 
a link where it should be strongest." 

" We shall never supply that link." 

" I quite agree with you." 

" That chain we must throw away." 

" And forge another? " 

Sweetwater approached and sat down. 

' Yes; I believe we can do it; yet I have only one 
indisputable fact for a starter. That is why I want 
you to tell me whether I'm growing daft or simply 
adventurous. Mr. Gryce, I don't trust Brotherson. 
He has pulled the wool over Dr. Heath's eyes and 
almost over those of Mr. Challoner. But he can't 
pull it over mine. Though he should tell a story ten 
times more plausible than the one with which he has 
satisfied the coroner's jury, I would still listen to him 
with more misgiving than confidence. Yet I have 
caught him in no misstatement, and his eye is steadier 
than my own. Perhaps it is simply a deeply rooted 
antipathy on my part, or the rage one feels at finding 
he has placed his finger on the wrong man. Again 
it may be " 

"What, Sweetwater?" 


" A well-founded distrust. Mr. Gryce, I'm going 
to ask you a question." 

" Ask away. Ask fifty if you want to." 

"No; the one may involve fifty, but it is big 
enough in itself to hold our attention for a while. 
Did you ever hear of a case before, that in some of its 
details was similar to this? " 

" No, it stands alone. That's why it is so puz- 

" You forget. The wealth, beauty and social con- 
sequence of the present victim has blinded you to the 
strong resemblance which her case bears to one you 
know, in which the sufferer had none of the worldly 
advantages of Miss Challoner. I allude to " 

" Wait ! the washerwoman in Hicks Street ! 
Sweetwater, what have you got up your sleeve ? You 
do mean that Brooklyn washerwoman, don't you? " 

' The same. The Department may have forgot- 
ten it, but I haven't. Mr. Gryce, there's a startling 
similarity in the two cases if you study the essential 
features only. Startling, I assure you." 

' Yes, you are right there. But what if there is? 
We were no more successful in solving that case than 
we have been in solving this. Yet you look and act 
like a hound which has struck a hot scent." 

The young man smoothed his features with an 
embarrassed laugh. 

" I shall never learn," said he, " not to give tongue 
till the hunt is fairly started. If you will excuse me, 
we'll first make sure of the similarity I have men- 
tioned. Then I'll explain myself. I have some 
notes here, made at the time it was decided to drop 


the Hicks Street case as a wholly inexplicable one. 
As you know, I never can bear to say 4 die,' and I 
sometimes keep such notes as a possible help in case 
any such unfinished matter should come up again. 
Shall I read them?" 

" Do. Twenty years ago it would not have been 
necessary. I should have remembered every detail 
of an affair so puzzling. But my memory is no 
longer entirely reliable. So fire away, my boy, 
though I hardly see your purpose or what real bear- 
ing the affair in Hicks Street has upon the Clermont 
one. A poor washerwoman and the wealthy Miss 
Challoner ! True, they were not unlike in their end." 

" The connection will come later," smiled the young 
detective, with that strange softening of his features 
which made one at times forget his extreme plainness. 
" I'm sure you will not consider the time lost if I 
ask you to consider the comparison I am about to 
make, if only as a curiosity in criminal annals." 

And he read : 

" ' On the afternoon of December Fourth, 1910, 
the strong and persistent screaming of a young child 
in one of the rooms of a rear tenement in Hicks Street, 
Brooklyn, drew the attention of some of the inmates 
and led them, after several ineffectual efforts to gain 
an entrance, to the breaking in of the door which had 
been fastened on the inside by an old-fashioned door- 

4 The tenant whom all knew for an honest, hard- 
working woman, had not infrequently fastened her 
door in this manner, in order to safeguard her child 
who was abnormally active and had a way of rattling 


the door open when it was not thus secured. But 
she had never refused to open before, and the child's 
cries were pitiful. 

" ' This was no longer a matter of wonder, when, 
the door having been wrenched from its hinges, they 
all rushed in. Across a tub of steaming clothes 
lifted upon a bench in the open window, they saw 
the body of this good woman, lying inert and seem- 
ingly dead; the frightened child tugging at her skirts. 
She was of a robust make, fleshy and fair, and had 
always been considered a model of health and energy, 
but at the sight of her helpless figure, thus stricken 
while at work, the one cry was ' A stroke ! ' till she 
had been lifted off and laid upon the floor. Then 
some discoloration in the water at the bottom of the 
tub led to a closer examination of her body, and the 
discovery of a bullet-hole in her breast directly over 
the heart. 

' As she had been standing with face towards the 
window, all crowded that way to see where the shot 
had come from. As they were on the fourth storey 
it could not have come from the court upon which the 
room looked. It could only have come from the 
front tenement, towering up before them some twenty 
feet away. A single window of the innumerable ones 
confronting them stood open, and this was the one 
directly opposite. 

' Nobody was to be seen there or in the room be- 
yond, but during the excitement, one man ran off to 
call the police and another to hunt up the janitor and 
ask who occupied this room. 

1 His reply threw them all into confusion. The 


tenant of that room was the best, the quietest and 
most respectable man in either building. 

" ' Then he must be simply careless and the s4pt an 
accidental one. A rush was made for the stairs and 
soon the whole building was in an uproar. But when 
this especial room was reached, it was found locked 
and on the door a paper pinned up, on which these 
words were written : Gone to New York. Will be 
back at 6:30! Words that recalled a circumstance 
to the janitor. He had seen the gentleman go out an 
hour before. This terminated all inquiry in this di- 
rection, though some few of the excited throng were 
for battering down this door just as they had the other 
one. But they were overruled by the janitor, who 
saw no use in such wholesale destruction, and pres- 
ently the arrival of the police restored order and lim- 
ited the inquiry to the rear building, where it un- 
doubtedly belonged.' 

" Mr. Gryce," (here Sweetwater laid by his notes 
that he might address the old gentleman more di- 
rectly), " I was with the boys when they made their 
first official investigation. This is why you can rely 
upon the facts as here given. I followed the investi- 
gation closely and missed nothing which could in any 
way throw light on the case. It was a mysterious 
one from the first, and lost nothing by further inquiry 
into the details. 

" The first fact to startle us as we made our way 
up through the crowd which blocked halls and stair- 
cases was this : A doctor had been found and, 
though he had been forbidden to make more than a 
cursory examination of the body till the coroner came, 


he had not hesitated to declare after his first look, 
that the wound had not been made by a bullet but 
by some sharp and slender weapon thrust home by a 
powerful hand. (You mark that, Mr. Gryce.) As 
this seemed impossible in face of the fact that the 
door had been found buttoned on the inside, we did 
not give much credit to his opinion and began our 
work under the obvious theory of an accidental dis- 
charge of some gun from one of the windows across 
the court. But the doctor was nearer right than we 
supposed. When the coroner came to look into the 
matter, he discovered that the wound was not only too 
small to have been made by the ordinary bullet, but 
that there was no bullet to be found in the woman's 
body or anywhere else. Her heart had been reached 
by a thrust and not by a shot from a gun. Mr. 
Gryce, have you not heard a startling repetition of 
this report in a case nearer at hand? 

" But to go back. This discovery, so important 
if true, was as yet that is, at the time of our enter- 
ing the room, limited to the off-hand declaration of 
an irresponsible physician, but the possibility it in- 
volved was of so astonishing a nature that it in- 
fluenced us unconsciously in our investigation and led 
us almost immediately into a consideration of the diffi- 
culties attending an entrance into, as well as an escape 
from, a room situated as this was. 

" Up three flights from the court, with no com- 
munication with the adjoining rooms save through a 
door guarded on both sides by heavy pieces of furni- 
ture no one person could handle, the hall door but- 
toned on the inside, and the fire-escape some fifteen 


feet to the left, this room of death appeared to be as 
removed from the approach of a murderous outsider 
as the spot in the writing-room of the Clermont where 
Miss Challoner fell. 

** Otherwise, the place presented the greatest con- 
trast possible to that scene of splendour and comfort. 
I had not entered the Clermont at that time, and no 
such comparison could have struck my mind. But 
I have thought of it since, and you, with your ex- 
perience, will not find it difficult to picture the room 
where this poor woman lived and worked. Bare 
walls, with just a newspaper illustration pinned up 
here and there, a bed tragically occupied at this 
moment a kitchen stove on which a boiler, half- 
filled with steaming clothes still bubbled and foamed, 
an old bureau, a large pine wardrobe against 
an inner door which we later found to have been 
locked for months, and the key lost, some chairs 
and most pronounced of all, because of its position 
directly before the window, a pine bench supporting a 
wash-tub of the old sort. 

" As it was here the woman fell, this tub naturally 
received the closest examination. A board projected 
from its further side, whither it had evidently been 
pushed by the weight of her falling body; and from 
its top hung a wet cloth, marking with its lugubrious 
drip on the boards beneath the first heavy moments of 
silence which is the natural accompaniment of so seri- 
ous a survey. On the floor to the right lay a half- 
used cake of soap just as it had slipped from her hand. 
The window was closed, for the temperature was at 
the freezing-point, but it had been found up, and it 


was put up now to show the height at which it had 
then stood. As we all took our look at the house 
wall opposite, a sound of shouting came up from be- 
low. A dozen children were sliding on barrel staves 
down a slope of heaped-up snow. They had been 
engaged in this sport all the afternoon and were our 
witnesses later that no one had made a hazardous 
escape by means of the ladder of the fire-escape, run- 
ning, as I have said, at an almost unattainable dis- 
tance towards the left. 

" Of her own child, whose cries had roused the 
neighbours, nothing was to be seen. The woman in 
the extreme rear had carried it off to her room; but 
when we came to see it later, no doubt was felt by 
any of us that this child was too young to talk con- 
nectedly, nor did I ever hear that it ever said any- 
thing which could in any way guide investigation. 

" And that is as fjir as we ever got. The 
coroner's jury brought in a verdict of death by means 
of a stab from some unknown weapon in the hand 
of a person also unknown, but no weapon was ever 
found, nor was it ever settled how the attack could 
have been made or the murderer escape under the 
conditions described. The woman was poor, her 
friends few, and the case seemingly inexplicable. So 
-ifter creating some excitement by its peculiarities, 
it fell of its own weight. But I remembered it, and 
in many a spare hour have tried to see my way 
through the no-thoroughfare it presented. But 
quite in vain. To-day, the road is as blind as ever, 
but " here Sweetwater's face sharpened and his 
eyes burned as he leaned closer and closer to the 


older detective " but this second case, so unlike the 
first in non-essentials but so exactly like it in just 
those points which make the mystery, has dropped a 
thread from its tangled skein into my hand, which 
may yet lead us to the heart of both. Can you guess 
have you guessed what this thread is? But 
how could you without the one clew I have not given 
you? Mr. Gryce, the tenement where this occurred 
is the same I visited the other night in search of Mr. 
Brotherson. And the man characterised at that time 
by the janitor as the best, the quietest and most re- 
spectable tenant in the whole building, and the one 
you remember whose window opened directly oppo- 
site the spot where this woman lay dead, was Mr. 
Dunn himself, or, in other words, our late redoubt- 
able witness, Mr. Orlando Brotherson." 



" I THOUGHT I should make you sit up. I really cal- 
culated upon doing so, sir. Yes, I have established 
the plain fact that this Brotherson was near to, if not 
in the exact line of the scene of crime in each of these 
extraordinary and baffling cases. A very odd coinci- 
dence, is it not?" was the dry conclusion of our 
eager young detective. . . . 

" Odd enough if you are correct in your statement. 
But I thought it was conceded that the man Brother- 
son was not personally near, was not even in the 
building at the time of the woman's death in Hicks 
Street; that he was out and had been out for hours, 
according to the janitor." 

" And so the janitor thought, but he didn't quite 
know his man. I'm not sure that I do. But I mean 
to make his acquaintance and make it thoroughly be- 
fore I let him go. The hero well, I will say the 
possible hero of two such adventures deserves 
some attention from one so interested in the abnormal 
as myself." 

" Sweetwater, how came you to discover that 
Mr. Dunn of this ramshackle tenement in Hicks 
Street was identical with the elegantly equipped ad- 
mirer of Miss Challoner?" 

" Just this way. The night before Miss Chal- 
loner's death I was brooding very deeply over the 


Hicks Street case. It had so possessed me that I 
had taken this street in on my way from Flatbush ; as 
if staring at the house and its swarming courtyard 
was going to settle any such question as that I I 
walked by the place and I looked up at the windows. 
No inspiration. Then I sauntered back and entered 
the house with the fool intention of crossing the 
courtyard and wandering into the rear building 
where the crime had occurred. But my attention 
was diverted and my mind changed by seeing a man 
coming down the stairs before me, of so fine a figure 
that I involuntarily stopped to look at him. Had he 
moved a little less carelessly, had he worn his work- 
man's clothes a little less naturally, I should have 
thought him some college bred man out on a slum- 
ming expedition. But he was entirely too much at 
home where he was, and too unconscious of his jeans 
for any such conclusion on my part, and when he had 
passed out I had enough curiosity to ask who he was. 
" My interest, you may believe, was in no wise 
abated when I learned that he was that highly re- 
spectable tenant whose window had been open at the 
time when half the inmates of the two buildings had 
rushed up to his door, only to find a paper on it dis- 
playing these words: Gone to New York; will be 
back at 6:30. Had he returned at that hour? I 
don't think anybody had ever asked ; and what reason 
had I for such interference now? But an idea once 
planted in my brain sticks tight, and I kept thinking 
of this man all the way to the Bridge. Instinctively 
and quite against my will, I found myself connecting 
him with some previous remembrance in which I 


seemed to see his tall form and strong features under 
the stress of some great excitement. But there my 
memory stopped, till suddenly as I was entering the 
subway, it all came back to me. I had met him the 
day I went with the boys to investigate the case in 
Hicks Street. He was coming down the staircase of 
the rear tenement then, very much as I had just seen 
him coming down the one in front. Only the Dunn 
of to-day seemed to have all his wits about him, 
while the huge fellow who brushed so rudely by me 
on that occasion had the peculiar look of a man strug- 
gling with horror or some other grave agitation. 
This was not surprising, of course, under the circum- 
stances. I had met more than one man and woman 
in those halls who had worn the same look; but none 
of them had put up a sign on his door that he had 
left for New York and would not be back till 6 130, 
and then changed his mind so suddenly that he was 
back in the tenement at three, sharing the curiosity 
and the terrors of its horrified inmates. 

" But the discovery, while possibly suggestive, was 
not of so pressing a nature as to demand instant 
action; and more immediate duties coming up, I let 
the matter slip from my mind, to be brought up again 
the next day, you may well believe, when all the cir- 
cumstances of the death at the Clermont came to light 
and I found myself confronted by a problem very 
nearly the counterpart of the one then occupying 

" But I did not see any real connection between 
the two cases, until, in my hunt for Mr. Brotherson, 
I came upon the following facts : that he was not al- 


ways the gentleman he appeared: that the apartment 
in which he was supposed to live was not his own but 
a friend's; and that he was only there by spells. 
When he was there, he dressed like a prince and it 
was while so clothed he ate his meals in the cafe of 
the Hotel Clermont. 

" But there were times when he had been seen to 
leave this apartment in a very different garb, and 
while there was no one to insinuate that he was da Jt 
in paying his debts or was given to dissipation or any 
overt vice, it was generally conceded by such as 
casually knew him, that there was a mysterious side 
to his life which no one understood. His friend < 
a seemingly candid and open-minded gentleman 
explained these contradictions by saying that Mr. 
Brotherson was a humanitarian and spent much of 
his time in the slums. That while so engaged he 
naturally dressed to suit the occasion, and if he was 
to be criticised at all, it was for his zeal which often 
led him to extremes and kept him to his task for days, 
during which time none of his up-town friends saw 
him. Then this enthusiastic gentleman called him 
the great intellectual light of the day, and well, if 
ever I want a character I shall take pains to insinuate 
myself into the good graces of this Mr. Conway. 

" Of Brotherson himself I saw nothing. He had 
come to Mr. Conway's apartment the night before 
the night of Miss Challoner's death, you understand 
but had remained only long enough to change his 
clothes. Where he went afterwards is unknown to 
Mr. Conway, nor can he tell us when to look for his 
return. When he does show up, my message will be 


given him, etc., etc. I have no fault to find with Mr. 

" But I had an idea in regard to this elusive 
Brotherson. I had heard enough about him to be 
mighty sure that together with his other accomplish- 
ments he possessed the golden tongue and easy 
speech of an orator. Also, that his tendencies were 
revolutionary and that for all his fine clothes and 
hankering after table luxuries and the like, he 
cherished a spite against wealth which made his words 
under certain moods cut like a knife. But there was 

another man, known to us of the Precinct, who 

had very nearly these same gifts, and this man was 
going to speak at a secret meeting that very evening. 
This we had been told by a disgruntled member of 
the Associated Brotherhood. Suspecting Brotherson, 
I had this prospective speaker described, and thought 
I recognised my man. But I wanted to be positive 
in my identification, so I took Anderson with me, and 
but I'll cut that short. We didn't sec the orator 
and that ' go ' went for nothing ; but I had another 
string to my bow in the shape of the workman Dunn 
who also answered to the description which had been 
given me ; so I lugged poor Anderson over into Hicks 

" It was late for the visit I proposed, but not too 
late, if Dunn was also the orator who, surprised by a 
raid I had not been let into, would be making for his 
home, if only to establish an alibi. The subway was 
near, and I calculated on his using it, but we took a 
taxicab and so arrived in Hicks Street some few 
minutes before him. The result you know. Ander- 


son recognised the man as the one whom he saw 
washing his hands in the snow outside of the Cler- 
mont, and the man, seeing himself discovered, owned 
himself to be Brotherson and made no difficulty about 
accompanying us the next day to the coroner's office. 
' You have heard how be bore himself; what his 
explanations were and how completely they fitted in 
with the preconceived notions of the Inspector and 
the District Attorney. In consequence, Miss Chal- 
loner's death is looked upon as a suicide the impul- 
sive act of a woman who sees the man she may have 
scouted but whom she secretly loves, turn away from 
her in all probability forever. A weapon was in her 
hand she impulsively used it, and another deplor- 
able suicide was added to the melancholy list. Had 
I put in my oar at the conference held in the coroner's 
office; had I recalled to Dr. Heath the curious case 
of Mrs. Spotts, and then identified Brotherson as 
the man whose window fronted hers from the oppo- 
site tenement, a diversion might have been created 
and the outcome been different. But I feared the 
experiment. I'm not sufficiently in with the Chief as 
yet, nor yet with the Inspector. They might not have 
called me a fool you may; but that's different 
and they might have listened, but it would doubtless 
have been with an air I could not have held up 
against, with that fellow's eyes fixed mockingly on 
mine. For he and I are pitted for a struggle, and I 
do not want to give him the advantage of even a 
momentary triumph. He's the most complete master 
of himself of any man I ever met, and it will take the 
united brain and resolution of the whole force to 


bring him to book if he ever is brought to book, 
which I doubt. What do you think about it? " 

" That you have given me an antidote against old 
age," was the ringing and unexpected reply, as the 
thoughtful, half-puzzled aspect of the old man 
yielded impulsively to a burst of his early enthusiasm. 
" If we can get a good grip on the thread you speak 
of, and can work ourselves along by it, though it be 
by no more than an inch at a time, we shall yet make 
our way through this labyrinth of undoubted crime 
and earn for ourselves a triumph which will make 
some of these raw and inexperienced young fellows 
about us stare. Sweetwater, coincidences are possible. 
We run upon them every day. But coincidence in 
crime! that should make work for a detective, and 
we are not afraid of work. There's my hand for 
my end of the business." 

"And here's mine." 

Next minute the two heads were closer than ever 
together, and the business had begun. 



u OUR first difficulty is this. We must prove motive. 
Now, I do not think it will be so very hard to show 
that this Brotherson cherished feelings of revenge to- 
wards Miss Challoner. But I have to acknowledge 
right here and now that the most skilful and vigour- 
ous pumping of the janitor and such other tenants 
of the Hicks Street tenement as I have dared to ap- 
proach, fails to show that he has ever held any com- 
munication with Mrs. Spotts, or even knew of her 
existence until her remarkable death attracted his at- 
tention. I have spent all the afternoon over this, 
and with no result. A complete break in the chain 
at the very start." 

" Humph ! we will set that down, then, as so much 
against us." 

" The next, and this is a bitter pill too, is the al- 
most insurmountable difficulty already recognised of 
determining how a man, without approaching his vic- 
tim, could manage to inflict a mortal stab in her breast. 
No cloak of complete invisibility has yet been found, 
even by the cleverest criminals." 

" True. The problem is such as a nightmare of- 
fers. For years my dreams have been haunted by a 
gnome who proposes just such puzzles." 

" But there's an answer to everything, and I'm sure 
there's an answer to this. Remember his business. 



He's an inventor, with startling ideas. So much I've 
seen for myself. You may stretch probabilities a lit- 
tle in his case; and with this conceded, we may add 
by way of off-set to the difficulties you mention, coinci- 
dences of time and circumstance, and his villainous 
heart. Oh, I know that I am prejudiced; but wait 
and see ! Miss Challoner was well rid of him even 
at the cost of her life." 

" She loved him. Even her father believes that 
now. Some lately discovered letters have come to 
light to prove that she was by no means so heart free 
as he supposed. One of her friends, it seems, has 
also confided to him that once, while she and Miss 
Challoner were sitting together, she caught Miss Chal- 
loner in the act of scribbling capitals over a sheet of 
paper. They were all B.s with the exception of here 
and there a neatly turned O, and when her friend 
twitted her with her fondness for these two letters, 
and suggested a pleasing monogram, Miss Challoner 
answered, ' O. B. (transferring the letters, as you 
see) are the initials of the finest man in the world.' ' 

" Gosh ! has he heard this story? " 


' The gentleman in question." 

"Mr. Brotherson?" 

" Yes." 

" I don't think so. It was told me in confidence." 

1 Told you, Mr. Gryce? Pardon my curiosity." 

" By Mr. Challoner." 

"Oh! by Mr. Challoner." 

" He is greatly distressed at having the disgraceful 
suggestion of suicide attached to his daughter's 


name. Notwithstanding the circumstances, not- 
withstanding his full recognition of her secret pre- 
dilection for a man of whom he had never heard till 
the night of her death, he cannot believe that she 
struck the blow she did, intentionally. He sent for 
me in order to inquire if anything could be done to re- 
instate her in public opinion. He dared not insist 
that another had wielded the weapon which laid her 
low so suddenly, but he asked if, in my experience, it 
had never been known that a woman, hyper-sensitive 
to some strong man's magnetic influence, should so 
follow his thought as to commit an act which never 
could have arisen in her own mind, uninfluenced. 
He evidently does not like Brotherson either." 

"And what what did you say?" asked 
Sweetwater, with a halting utterance and his face 
full of thought. 

" I simply quoted the latest authority on hyno- 
tism, that no person even in hypnotic sleep could be 
influenced by another to do what was antagonistic to 
his natural instincts." 

" Latest authority. That doesn't mean a final 
one. Supposing that it was hypnotism ! But that 
wouldn't account for Mrs. Spotts' death. Her 
wound certainly was not a self-inflicted one." 

" How can you be sure? " 

' There was no weapon found in the room, or in 
the court. The snow was searched and the children 
too. No weapon, Mr. Gryce, not even a paper-cut- 
ter. Besides but how did Mr. Challoner take 
what you said? Was he satisfied with this assur- 


" He had to be. I didn't dare to hold out any 
hope based on so unsubstantial a theory. But the 
interview had this effect upon me. If the possi- 
bility remains of fixing guilt elsewhere than on Miss 
Challoner's inconsiderate impulse, I am ready to de- 
vote any amount of time and strength to the work. 
To see this grieving father relieved from the worst 
part of his burden is worth some effort and now you 
know why I have listened so eagerly to you. Sweet- 
water, I will go with you to the Superintendent. We 
may not gain his attention and again we may. If we 
don't but we won't cross that bridge prematurely. 
When will you be ready for this business? " 
" I must be at Headquarters to-morrow." 
" Good, then let it be to-morrow. A taxicab, 
Sweetwater. The subway for the young. I can 
no longer manage the stairs." 



" IT is true ; there seems to be something extraordi- 
nary in the coincidence." 

Thus Mr. Brotherson, in the presence of the In- 

" But that is all there is to it," he easily proceeded. 
" I knew Miss Challoner and I have already said 
how much and how little I had to do with her death. 
The other woman I did not know at all; I did not 
even know her name. A prosecution based on 
grounds so flimsy as those you advance would savour 
of persecution, would it not? " 

The Inspector, surprised by this unexpected attack, 
regarded the speaker with an interest rather aug- 
mented than diminished by his boldness. The smile 
with which he had uttered these concluding words yet 
lingered on his lips, lighting up features of a mould 
too suggestive of command to be associated readily 
with guilt. That the impression thus produced was 
favourable, was evident from the tone of the In- 
spector's reply: 

" We have said nothing about prosecution, Mr. 
Brotherson. We hope to avoid any such extreme 
measures, and that we may the more readily do so, 
we have given you this opportunity to make such ex- 
planations as the situation, which you yourself have 
characterised as remarkable, seems to call for." 



" I am ready. But what am I called upon to ex- 
plain? I really cannot see, sir. Knowing nothing 
more about either case than you do, I fear that I 
shall not add much to your enlightenment." 

" You can tell us why with your seeming culture 
and obvious means, you choose to spend so much 
time in a second-rate tenement like the one in Hicks 

Again that chill smile preceding the quiet answer : 

" Have you seen my room there ? It is piled to the 
ceiling with books. When I was a poor man, I chose 
the abode suited to my purse and my passion for first- 
rate reading. As I grew better off, my time became 
daily more valuable. I have never seen the hour 
when I felt like moving that precious collection. Be- 
sides, I am a man of the people. I like the working 
class, and am willing to be thought one of them. I 
can find time to talk to a hard-pushed mechanic as 
easily as to such members of the moneyed class as 
I encounter on stray evenings at the Hotel Clermont. 
I have led I may say that I am leading a 
double life; but of neither am I ashamed, nor have 
I cause to be. Love drove me to ape the gentleman 
in the halls of the Clermont; a broad human interest 
in the work of the world, to live as a fellow among 
the mechanics of Hicks Street." 

" But why make use of one name as a gentleman of 
leisure and quite a different one as the honest work- 

" Ah, there you touch upon my real secret. I have 
a reason for keeping my identity quiet till my inven- 
tion is completed." 


" A reason connected with your anarchistic tenden- 

" Possibly." But the word was uttered in a way 
to carry little conviction. " I am not much of an 
anarchist," he now took the trouble to declare, with 
a careless lift of his shoulders. " I like fair play, but 
I shall never give you much trouble by my manner 
of insuring it. I have too much at stake. My in- 
vention is dearer to me than the overthrow of pres- 
ent institutions. Nothing must stand in the way of 
its success, not even the satisfaction of inspiring ter- 
ror in minds shut to every other species of argument. 
I have uttered my last speech ; you can rely on me for 

" We are glad to hear it, Mr. Dunn. Physical 
overthrow carries more than the immediate sufferer 
with it." 

If this were meant as an irritant, it did not act suc- 
cessfully. The social agitator, the political dema- 
gogue, the orator whose honeyed tones had rung 
with biting invective in the ears of the United 
Brotherhood of the Awl, the Plane and the Trowel, 
simply bowed and calmly waited for the next 

Perhaps it was of a nature to surprise even him. 

" We have no wish," continued the Inspector, " to 
probe too closely into concerns seemingly quite re- 
moved from the main issue. You say that you arc 
ready, nay more, are even eager to answer all ques- 
tions. You will probably be anxious then to explain 
away a discrepancy between your word and your con- 
duct, which has come to our attention. You were 


known to have expressed the intention of spending 
the afternoon of Mrs. Spotts' death in New York 
and were supposed to have done so, yet you were cer- 
tainly seen in the crowd which invaded that rear 
building at the first alarm. Are you conscious of 
possessing a double, or did you fail to cross the river 
as you expected to? " 

" I am glad this has come up." The tone was one 
of self-congratulation which would have shaken 
Sweetwater sorely had he been admitted to this un- 
official examination. " I have never confided to any 
one the 3tory of my doings on that unhappy after- 
noon, because I knew of no one who would take any 
interest in them. But this is what occurred. I did 
mean to go to New York and I even started on my 
walk to the Bridge at the hour mentioned. But I 
got into a small crowd on the corner of Fulton 
Street, in which a poor devil who had robbed a 
vendor's cart of a few oranges, was being hustled 
about There was no policeman within sight, and so 
I busied myself there for a minute paying for the 
oranges and dragging the poor wretch away into an 
alley, where I could have the pleasure of seeing him 
eat them. When I came out of the alley the small 
crowd had vanished, but a big one was collecting up 
the street very near my home. I always think of my 
books when I see anything suggesting fire, and natu- 
rally I returned, and equally naturally, when I heard 
what had happened, followed the crowd into the 
court and so up to the poor woman's doorway. But 
my curiosity satisfied, I returned at once to the street 
and went to New York as I had planned." 


" Do you mind telling us where you went in New 

" Not at all. I went shopping. I wanted a cer- 
tain very fine wire, for an experiment I had on hand, 
and I found it in a little shop in Fourth Avenue. If 
I remember rightly, the name over the door was Grip- 
pus. Its oddity struck me." 

There was nothing left to the Inspector but to 
dismiss him. He had answered all questions will- 
ingly, and with a countenance inexpressive of guile. 
He even indulged in a parting shot on his own ac- 
count, as full of frank acceptance of the situation 
as it was fearless in i.ts attack. As he halted in the 
doorway before turning his back upon the room, he 
smiled for the third time as he quietly said: 

" I have ceased visiting my friend's apartment in 
upper New York. If you ever want me again, you 
will find me amongst my books. If my invention 
halts and other interests stale, you have furnished me 
this day with a problem which cannot fail to give 
continual occupation to my energies. If I succeed 
in solving it first, I shall be happy to share my knowl- 
edge with you. Till then, trust the laws of nature. 
No man when once on the outside of a door can 
button it on the inside, nor could any one without the 
gift of complete invisibility, make a leap of over fif- 
teen feet from the sill of a fourth story window on 
to an adjacent fire escape, without attracting the at- 
tention of some of the many children playing down 

He was half-way out the door, but his name quickly 
spoken by the Inspector drew him back. 


" Anything more? " he asked. 

The Inspector smiled. 

" You are a man of considerable analytic power, as 
I take it, Mr. Brotherson. You must have decided 
long ago how this woman died." 

" Is that a question, Inspector? " 

" You may take it as such." 

" Then I will allow myself to say that there is but 
one common-sense view to take of the matter. Miss 
Challoner's death was due to suicide; so was that of 
the washerwoman. But there I stop. As for the 
means the motive such mysteries may be within 
your province but they are totally outside mine ! 
God help us all! The world is full of misery. 
Again I wish you good-day." 

The air seemed to have lost its vitality and the 
sun its sparkle when he was gone. 

" Now, what do you think, Gryce? " 
The old man rose and came out of his corner. 
'This: that I'm up against the hardest proposi- 
tion of my lifetime. Nothing in the man's appear- 
ance or manner evinces guilt, yet I believe him guilty. 
I must. Not to, is to strain probability to the point 
of breakage. But how to reach him is a problem 
and one of no ordinary nature. Years ago, when I 
was but little older than Sweetwater, I had just such a 
conviction concerning a certain man against whom I 
had even less to vork on than we have here. A mur- 
der had been committed by an envenomed spring con- 
tained in a toy puzzle. I worked upon the conscience 
of the suspect in that case, by bringing constantly 


before his eyes a facsimile of that spring. It 
met him in the folded napkin which he opened at his 
restaurant dinner. He stumbled upon it in the street, 
and found it lying amongst his papers at home. I 
gave him no relief and finally he succumbed. He had 
been almost driven mad by remorse. But this man 
has no conscience. If he is not innocent as the day, 
he's as hard as unquarried marble. He might be 
confronted with reminders of his crime at every turn 
without weakening or showing by loss of appetite 
or interrupted sleep any effect upon his nerves. 
That's my opinion of the gentleman. He is either 
that, or a man of uncommon force and self- 

" I'm inclined to believe him the latter." 

" And so give the whole matter the go-by? " 

11 Possibly." 

" It will be a terrible disappointment to Sweet- 

" That's nothing." 

" And to me." 

" That's different. I'm disposed to consider you, 
Gryce after all these years." 

" Thank you ; I have done the state some service." 

"What do you want? You say the mine is un- 

" Yes, in a day, or in a week, possibly in a month. 
But persistence and a protean adaptability to meet 
his moods might accomplish something. I don't say 
will, I only say might. If Sweetwater had the job, 
with unlimited time in which to carry out any plan 
he may have, or even for a change of plans to suit 


a changed idea, success might be his, and both time, 
effort and outlay justified." 

"The outlay? I am thinking of the outlay." 

" Mr. Challoner will see to that. I have his word 
that no reasonable amount will daunt him." 

" But this Brotherson is suspicious. He has an 
inventor's secret to hide, if none other. We can't 
saddle him with a guy of Sweetwater's appearance 
and abnormal loquaciousness." 

" Not readily, I own. But time will bring counsel. 
Are you willing to help the boy, to help me and pos- 
sibly yourself by this venture in the dark? The De- 
partment shan't lose money by it; that's all I can 

" But it's a big one. Gryce, you shall have your 
way. You'll be the only loser if you fail; and you 
will fail; take my word for it." 

" I wish I could speak as confidently to the con- 
trary, but I can't. I can give you my hand though, 
Inspector, and Sweetwater's thanks. I can meet the 
boy now. An hour ago I didn't know how I was to 
do it." 



" How many times has he seen you? " 

" Twice." 

" So that he knows your face and figure? " 

" I'm afraid so. He cannot help remembering the 
man who faced him in his own room." 

" That's unfortunate." 

" Damned unfortunate; but one must expect some 
sort of a handicap in a game like this. Before I'm 
done with him, he'll look me full in the face and 
wonder if he's ever seen me before. I wasn't always 
a detective. I was a carpenter once, as you know, and 
I'll take to the tools again. As soon as I'm handy 
with them I'll hunt up lodgings in Hicks Street. He 
may suspect me at first, but he won't long; I'll be 
such a confounded good workman. I only wish I 
hadn't such pronounced features. They've stood aw- 
fully in my way, Mr. Gryce. I don't like to talk 
about my appearance, but I'm so confounded plain 
that people remember me. Why couldn't I have had 
one of those putty faces which don't mean anything? 
It would have been a deuced sight more convenient.'* 
' You've done very well as it is." 

" But I want to do better. I want to deceive him 
to his face. He's clever, this same Brotherson, and 
there's glory to be got in making a fool of him. Do 
you think it could be done with a beard? I've never 



worn a beard. While I'm settling back into my old 
trade, I can let the hair. grow." 

" Do. It'll make you look as weak as water. 
It'll be blonde, of course." 

" And silky and straggling. Charming addition 
to my beauty. But it'll take half an inch off my nose, 
and it'll cover my mouth, which means a lot in my 
case. Then my complexion! It must be changed 
naturally. I'll consult a doctor about that. No sort 
of make-believe will go with this man. If my eyes 
look weak, they must really be so. If I walk slowly 
and speak huskily, it must be because I cannot help 
it. I can bear the slight inconvenience of temporary 
ill-health in a cause like this; and if necessary the 
cough will be real, and the headache positive." 

" Sweetwater 1 We'd better give the task to an- 
other man to someone Brotherson has never seen 
and won't be suspicious of? " 

" He'll be suspicious of everybody who tries to 
make friends with him now; only a little more so with 
me; that's all. But I've got to meet that, and I'll do 
it by being, temporarily, of course, exactly the man 
I seem. My health will not be good for the next 
few weeks, I'm sure of that. But I'll be a model 
workman, neat and conscientious with just a suspicion 
of dash where dash is needed. He knows the real 
thing when he sees it, and there's not a fellow living 
more alive to shams. I won't be a sham. I'll be it. 
You'll see." 

" But the doubt. Can you do all this in doubt of 
the issue? " 

" No ; I must have confidence in the end, and I 


must believe in his guilt. Nothing else will carry me 
through. I must believe in his guilt." 

" Yes, that's essential." 

" And I do. I never was surer of anything than 
I am of that. But I'll have the deuce of a time to get 
evidence enough for a grand jury. That's plainly to 
be seen, and that's why I'm so dead set on the busi- 
ness. It's such an even toss-up." 

" I don't call it even. He's got the start of you 
every way. You can't go to his tenement ; the janitor 
there would recognise you even if he didn't." 

" Now I will give you a piece of good news. 
They're to have a new janitor next week. I learned 
that yesterday. The present one is too easy. He'll 
be out long before I'm ready to show myself there; 
and so will the woman who took care of the poor 
washerwoman's little child. I'd not have risked her 
curiosity. Luck isn't all against us. How does Mr. 
Challoner feel about it?" 

" Not very confident; but willing to give you any 
amount of rope. Sweetwater, he let me have a batch 
of letters written by his daughter which he found in 
a secret drawer. They are not to be read, or even 
opened, unless a great necessity arises. They were 
written for Brotherson's eye or so the father says : 
but she never sent them; too exuberant perhaps. 
If you ever want them I cannot give them to you 
to-night, and wouldn't if I could, don't go to Mr. 
Challoner you must never be seen at his hotel 
and don't come to me, but to the little house in West 
Twenty-ninth Street, where they will be kept for 
you, tied up in a package with your name on it. By 


the way, what name are you going to work un- 
der? " 

" My mother's Zugg." 

" Good ! I'll remember. You can always write 
or even telephone to Twenty-ninth Street. I'm in 
constant communication with them there, and it's 
quite safe." 

" Thanks. You're sure the Superintendent is with 

' Yes, but not the Inspector. He sees nothing but 
the victim of a strange coincidence in Orlando 

" Again the scales hang even. But they won't re- 
main so. One side is bound to rise. Which? 
That's the question, Mr. Gryce." 



THERE was a new tenant in the Hicks Street tene- 
ment. He arrived late one afternoon and was 
shown two rooms, one in the rear building and an- 
other in the front one. Both were on the fourth 
floor. He demurred at the former, thought it 
gloomy but finally consented to try it. The other, 
he said, was too expensive. The janitor new to 
the business was not much taken with him and 
showed it, which seemed to offend the newcomer, 
who was evidently an irritable fellow owing to ill 

However, they came to terms as I have said, and 
the man went away, promising to send in his be- 
longings the next day. He smiled as he said this 
and the janitor who had rarely seen such a change 
take place in a human face, looked uncomfortable 
for a moment and seemed disposed to make some 
remark about the room they were leaving. But, 
thinking better of it, locked the door and led the way 
downstairs. As the prospective tenant followed, he 
may have noticed, probably did, that the door they 
had just left was a new one the only new thing 
to be seen in the whole shabby place. 

The next night that door was locked on the inside. 
The young man had taken possession. As he put 
away the remnants of a meal he had cooked for him- 



self, he cast a look at his surroundings, and imper- 
ceptibly sighed. Then he brightened again, and sit- 
ting down on his solitary chair, he turned his eyes 
on the window which, uncurtained and without shade, 
stared open-mouthed, as it were, at the opposite wall 
rising high across the court. 

In that wall, one window only seemed to interest 
him and that was on a level with his own. The 
shade of this window was up, but there was no light 
back of it and so nothing of the interior could be 
seen. But his eye remained fixed upon it, while his 
hand, stretched out towards the lamp burning near 
him, held itself in readiness to lower the light at a 
minute's notice. 

Did he see only the opposite wall and that unil- 
lumined window? Was there no memory of the 
time when, in a previous contemplation of those dis- 
mal panes, he beheld stretching between them and 
himself, a long, low bench with a plain wooden tub 
upon it, from which a dripping cloth beat out upon 
the boards beneath a dismal note, monotonous as the 
ticking of a clock? 

One might judge that such memories were indeed 
his, from the rapid glance he cast behind him at the 
place where the bed had stood in those days. It was 
placed differently now. 

But if he saw, and if he heard these suggestions 
from the past, he was not less alive to the exactions 
of the present, for, as his glance flew back across the 
court, his finger suddenly moved and the flame it 
controlled sputtered and went out. At the same 
instant, the window opposite sprang into view as 


the lamp was lit within, and for several minutes the 
whole interior remained visible the books, the 
work-table, the cluttered furniture, and, most inter- 
esting of all, its owner and occupant. It was upon 
the latter that the newcomer fixed his attention, and 
with an absorption equal to that he saw expressed in 
the countenance opposite. 

But his was the absorption of watchfulness; that 
of the other of introspection. Mr. Brotherson 
(we will no longer call him Dunn even here where he 
is known by no other name) had entered the room 
clad in his heavy overcoat and, not having taken it 
off before lighting his lamp, still stood with it on, 
gazing eagerly down at the model occupying the 
place of honour on the large centre table. He was 
not touching it, not at this moment but that his 
thoughts were with it, that his whole mind was con- 
centrated on it, was evident to the watcher across 
the court; and, as this watcher took in this fact and 
noticed the loving care with which the enthusiastic 
inventor finally put out his finger to re-arrange a 
thread or twirl a wheel, his disappointment found ut- 
terance in a sigh which echoed sadly through the dull 
and cheerless room. Had he expected this stern and 
self-contained man to show an open indifference to 
work and the hopes of a lifetime? If so, this was 
the first of the many surprises awaiting him. 

He was gifted, however, with the patience of an 
automaton and continued to watch his fellow tenant 
as long as the latter's shade remained up. When it 
fell, he rose and took a few steps up and down, but not 
with the celerity and precision which usually accom- 


panied his movements. Doubt disturbed his mind 
and impeded his activity. He had caught a fair 
glimpse of Brotherson's face as he approached the 
window, and though it continued to show abstrac- 
tion, it equally displayed serenity and a complete sat- 
isfaction with the present if not with the future. 
Had he mistaken his man after all? Was his in- 
stinct, for the first time in his active career, wholly at 

He had succeeded in getting a glimpse of his 
quarry in the privacy of his own room, at home with 
his thoughts and unconscious of any espionage, and 
how had he found him? Cheerful, and natural in 
all his movements. 

But the evening was young. Retrospect comes 
with later and more lonely hours. There will be 
opportunities yet for studying this impassive coun- 
tenance under much more telling and productive cir- 
cumstances than these. He would await these op- 
portunities with cheerful anticipation. Meanwhile, 
he would keep up the routine watch he had planned 
for this night. Something might yet occur. At all 
events he would have exhausted the situation from 
this standpoint. 

And so it came to pass that at an hour when all 
the other hard-working people in the building were 
asleep, or at least striving to sleep, these two men still 
sat at their work, one in the light, the other in the 
darkness, facing each other, consciously to the one, 
unconsciously to the other, across the hollow well of 
the now silent court. Eleven o'clock! Twelve! 
No change on Brotherson's part or in Brotherson's 


room; but a decided one in the place where Sweet- 
water sat. Objects which had been totally indis- 
tinguishable even to his penetrating eye could now be 
seen in ever brightening outline. The moon had 
reached the open space above the court, and he was 
getting the full benefit of it. But it was a benefit 
he would have been glad to dispense with. Dark- 
ness was like a shield to him. He did not feel quite 
sure that he wanted this shield removed. With no 
curtain to the window and no shade, and all this bril- 
liance pouring into the room, he feared the disclosure 
of his presence there, or, if not that, some effect on 
his own mind of those memories he was more anx- 
ious to see mirrored in another's discomfiture than 
in his own. 

Was it to escape any lack of concentration which 
these same memories might bring, that he rose and 
stepped to the window? Or was it under one of 
those involuntary impulses which move us in spite of 
ourselves to do the very thing our judgment disap- 
proves ? 

No sooner had he approached the sill than Mr. 
Brotherson's shade flew way up and he, too, looked 
out. Their glances met, and for an instant the hardy 
detective experienced that involuntary stagnation of 
the blood which follows an inner shock. He felt 
that he had been recognised. The moonlight lay full 
upon his face, and the other had seen and known him. 
Else, why the constrained attitude and sudden rigidity 
observable in this confronting figure, with its partially 
lifted hand? A man like Brotherson makes no pause 
in any action however trivial, without a reason. 


Either he had been transfixed by this glimpse of his 
enemy on watch, or daring thought ! had seen 
enough of sepulchral suggestion in the wan face look- 
ing forth from this fatal window to shake him from 
his composure and let loose the grinning devil of re- 
morse from its iron prison-house? If so, the move- 
ment was a memorable one, and the hazard quite 
worth while. He had gained no ! he had gained 
nothing. He had been the fool of his own wishes. 
No one, let alone Brotherson, could have mistaken his 
face for that of a woman. He had forgotten his 
newly-grown beard. Some other cause must be 
found for the other's attitude. It savoured of shock, 
if not fear. If it were fear, then had he roused an 
emotion which might rebound upon himself in sharp 
reprisal. Death had been known to strike people 
standing where he stood; mysterious death of a spe- 
cies quite unrecognisable. What warranty had he 
that it would not strike him, and now ? None. 

Yet it was Brotherson who moved first. With a 
shrug of the shoulder plainly visible to the man op- 
posite, he turned away from the window and with- 
out lowering the shade, began gathering up his pa- 
pers for the night, and later banking up his stove 
with ashes. 

Sweetwater, with a breath of decided relief, 
stepped back and threw himself on the bed. It had 
really been a trial for him to stand there under the 
other's eye, though his mind refused to formulate his 
fear, or to give him any satisfaction when he asked 
himself what there was in the situation suggestive of 
death to the woman or harm to himself. 


Nor did morning light bring counsel, as is usual 
in similar cases. He felt the mystery more in the 
hubbub and restless turmoil of the day than in the 
night's silence and inactivity. He was glad when the 
stroke of six gave him an excuse to leave the room, 
and gladder yet when in doing so, he ran upon an 
old woman from a neighbouring room, who no sooner 
saw him than she leered at him and eagerly re- 
marked : 

"Not much sleep, eh? We didn't think you'd 
like it. Did you see anything? " 

Now this gave him the one excuse he wanted. 

"See anything?" he repeated, apparently with 
all imaginable innocence. " What do you mean by 

" Don't you know what happened in that room ? " 

" Don't tell me ! " he shouted out " I don't want 
to hear any nonsense. I haven't time. I've got to 
be at the shop at seven and I don't feel very well. 
What did happen?" he mumbled in drawing off, 
just loud enough for the woman to hear. " Some- 
thing unpleasant I'm sure." Then he ran down- 

At half past six he found the janitor. He was, 
to all appearance, in a state of great excitement and 
he spoke very fast. 

" I won't stay another night in that room," he 
loudly declared, breaking in where the family were 
eating breakfast by lamplight. " I don't want to 
make any trouble and I don't want to give 
my reasons; but that room don't suit me. I'd 
rather take the dark one you talked about yesterday. 


There's the money. Have my things moved to-day, 
will ye?" 

" But your moving out after one night's stay will 
give that room a bad name," stammered the janitor, 
rising awkwardly. " There'll be talk and I won't 
be able to let that room all winter." 

" Nonsense ! Every man hasn't the nerves I have. 
You'll let it in a week. But let or not let, I'm go- 
ing front into the little dark room. I'll get the boss 
to let me off at half past four. So that's settled." 

He waited for no reply and got none ; but when he 
appeared promptly at a quarter to five, he found his 
few belongings moved into a middle room on the 
fourth floor of the front building, which, oddly per- 
haps, chanced to be next door to the one he had held 
under watch the night before. 

The first page of his adventure in the Hicks Street 
tenement had been turned, and he was ready to start 
upon another. 



WHEN Mr. Brotherson came in that night, he no- 
ticed that the door of the room adjoining his own 
stood open. He did not hesitate. Making imme- 
diately for it, he took a glance inside, then spoke up 
with a ringing intonation : 

" Halloo! coming to live in this hole? " 

The occupant a young man, evidently a work- 
man and somewhat sickly if one could judge from 
his complexion turned around from some tinker- 
ing he was engaged in and met the intruder fairly, 
face to face. If his jaw fell, it seemed to be from 
admiration. No other emotion would have so 
lighted his eye as he took in the others proportions 
and commanding features. No dress Brotherson 
was never seen in any other than the homeliest garb 
in these days could make him look common or 
akin to his surroundings. Whether seen near or far, 
his presence always caused surprise, and surprise was 
what the young man showed, as he answered briskly : 

" Yes, this is to be my castle. Are you the owner 
of the buildings? If so " 

" I am not the owner. I live next door. Haven't 
I seen you before, young man ? " 

Never was there a more penetrating eye than Or- 
lando Brotherson's. As he asked this question it 
took some effort on the part of the other to hold his 


own and laugh with perfect naturalness as he replied : 

" If you ever go up Henry Street it's likely enough 
that you've seen me not once, but many times. I'm 
the fellow who works at the bench next the window in 
Schuper's repairing shop. Everybody knows me." 

Audacity often carries the day when subtler 
means would fail. Brotherson stared at the youth, 
then ventured another question : 

" A carpenter, eh? " 

' Yes, and I'm an Ai man at my job. Excuse my 
brag. It's my one card of introduction." 

" I've seen you. I've seen you somewhere else 
than in Schuper's shop. Do you remember me? " 

" No, sir ; I'm sorry to be imperlite but I don't 
remember you at all. Won't you sit down? It's 
not very cheerful, but I'm so glad to get out of the 
room I was in last night that this looks all right to 
me. Back there, other building," he whispered. " I 
didn't know, and took the room which had a window 
in it; but " The stop was significant; so was his 
smile which had a touch of sickliness in it, as well 
as humour. 

But Brotherson was not to be caught. 

' You slept in the building last night ? In the 
other half, I mean? " 

" Yes, I slept." 

The strong lip of the older man curled disdain- 

" I saw you," said he. " You were standing in 
the window overlooking the court. You were not 
sleeping then. I suppose you know that a woman 
died in that room? " 


' Yes; they told me so this morning." 

" Was that the first you'd heard of it? " 

" Sure ! " The word almost jumped at the ques- 
tioner. " Do you suppose I'd have taken the room 

But here the intruder, with a disdainful grunt, 
turned and went out, disgust in every feature, 
plain, unmistakable, downright disgust, and nothing 

This was what gave Sweetwater his second bad 
night; this and a certain discovery he made. He 
had counted on hearing what went on in the neigh- 
bouring room through the partition running back of 
his own closet. But he could hear nothing, unless it 
was the shutting down of a window, a loud sneeze, 
or the rattling of coals as they were put on the fire. 
And these possessed no significance. What he 
wanted was to catch the secret sigh, the muttered 
word, the involuntary movement. He was too far 
removed from this man still. 

How should he manage to get nearer him 
at the door of his mind of his heart? Sweetwa- 
ter stared all night from his miserable cot into the 
darkness of that separating closet, and with no re- 
sult. His task looked hopeless; no wonder that he 
could get no rest. 

Next morning he felt ill, but he rose all the same, 
and tried to get his own breakfast. He had but 
partially succeeded and was sitting on the edge of his 
bed in wretched discomfort, when the very man he 
was thinking of appeared at his door. 

" I've come to see how you are," said Brotherson. 


" I noticed that you did not look well last night. 
Won't you come in and share my pot of coffee? " 

"I I can't eat," mumbled Sweetwater, for 
once in his life thrown completely off his balance. 
" You're very kind, but I'll manage all right. I'd 
rather. I'm not quite dressed, you see, and I must 
get to the shop." Then he thought "What an 
opportunity I'm losing. Have I any right to turn 
tail because he plays his game from the outset with 
trumps? No, I've a small trump somewhere about 
me to lay on this trick. It isn't an ace, but it'll show 
I'm not chicane." And smiling, though not with his 
usual cheerfulness, Sweetwater added, " Is the coffee 
all made? I might take a drop of that. But you 
mustn't ask me to eat I just couldn't." 

' Yes, the coffee is made and it isn't bad either. 
You'd better put on your coat; the hall's draughty." 
And waiting till Sweetwater did so, he led the way 
back to his own room. Brotherson's manner ex- 
pressed perfect ease, Sweetwater's not. He knew 
himself changed in looks, in bearing, in feeling, even ; 
but was he changed enough to deceive this man on 
the very spot where they had confronted each other 
a few days before in a keen moral struggle? The 
looking-glass he passed on his way to the table where 
the simple breakfast was spread out, showed him a 
figure so unlike the alert, business-like chap he had 
been that night, that he felt his old assurance revive 
in time to ease a situation which had no counterpart 
in his experience. 

" I'm going out myself to-day, so we'll have to 
hurry a bit," was Brotherson's first remark as they 


seated themselves at table. " Do you like your cof- 
fee plain or with milk in it? " 

" Plain. Gosh ! what pictures 1 Where do you 
get 'em? You must have a lot of coin." Sweetwa- 
ter was staring at the row of photographs, mostly of 
a very high order, tacked along the wall separating 
the two rooms. They were unframed, but they were 
mostly copies of great pictures, and the effect was 
rather imposing in contrast to the shabby furniture 
and the otherwise homely fittings. 

" Yes, I've enough for that kind of thing," was his 
host's reply. But the tone was reserved, and Sweet- 
water did not presume again along this line. In- 
stead, he looked well at the books piled upon the 
shelves under these photographs, and wondered 
aloud at their number and at the man who could 
waste such a lot of time in reading them. But he 
made no more direct remarks. Was he cowed by 
the penetrating eye he encountered whenever he 
yielded to the fascination exerted by Mr. Brother- 
son's personality and looked his way? He hated to 
think so, yet something held him in check and made 
him listen, open-mouthed, when the other chose to 

Yet there was one cheerful moment. It was when 
he noticed the careless way in which those books were 
arranged upon their shelves. An idea had come to 
him. He hid his relief in his cup, as he drained the 
last drops of the coffee which really tasted better 
than he had expected. 

When he returned from work that afternoon it 
was with an auger under his coat and a conviction 


which led him to empty out the contents of a small 
phial which he took down from a shelf. He had 
told Mr. Gryce that he was eager for the business 
because of its difficulties, but that was when he was 
feeling fine and up to any game which might come 
his way. Now he felt weak and easily discouraged. 
This would not do. He must regain his health at 
all hazards, so he poured out the mixture which had 
given him such a sickly air. This done and a rude 
supper eaten, he took up his auger. He had heard 
Mr. Brotherson's step go by. But next minute he 
laid it down again in great haste and flung a news- 
paper over it. Mr. Brotherson was coming back, 
had stopped at his door, had knocked and must be 
let in. 

' You're better this evening," he heard in those 
kindly tones which so confused and irritated him. 

" Yes," was the surly admission. " But it's 
stifling here. If I have to live long in this hole I'll 
dry up from want of air. It's near the shop or I 
wouldn't stay out the week." Twice this day he had 
seen Brotherson's tall figure stop before the window 
of this shop and look in at him at his bench. But he 
said nothing about that. 

' Yes," agreed the other, " it's no way to live. 
But you're alone. Upstairs there's a whole family 
huddled into a room just like this. Two of the kids 
sleep in the closet. It's things like that which have 
made me the friend of the poor, and the mortal en- 
emy of men and women who spread themselves over 
a dozen big rooms and think themselves ill-used if 


the gas burns poorly or a fireplace smokes. I'm off 
for the evening; anything I can do for you? " 

" Show me how I can win my way into such rooms 
as you've just talked about. Nothing less will make 
me look up. I'd like to sleep in one to-night. In 
the best bedroom, sir. I'm ambitious; I am." 

A poor joke, though they both laughed. Then 
Mr. Brotherson passed on, and Sweetwater listened 
till he was sure that his too attentive neighbour had 
really gone down the three flights between him and 
the street. Then he took up his auger again and 
shut himself up in his closet. 

There was nothing peculiar about this closet. It 
was just an ordinary one with drawers and shelves 
on one side, and an open space on the other for the 
hanging up of clothes. Very few clothes hung there 
at present ; but it was in this portion of the closet that 
he stopped and began to try the wall of Brotherson's 
room, with the butt end of the tool he carried. 

The sound seemed to satisfy him, for very soon 
he was boring a hole at a point exactly level with his 
car; but not without frequent pauses and much 
attention given to the possible return of those de- 
parted foot-steps. He remembered that Mr. Broth- 
erson had a way of coming back on unexpected er- 
rands after giving out his intention of being absent 
for hours. 

Sweetwater did not want to be caught in any such 
trap as that; so he carefully followed every sound 
that reached him from the noisy halls. But he did 
not forsake his post; he did not have to. Mr. 


Brotherson had been sincere in his good-bye, and the 
auger finished its job and was withdrawn without 
any interruption from the man whose premises had 
been thus audaciously invaded. 

" Neat as well as useful," was the gay comment 
with which Sweetwater surveyed his work, then laid 
his ear to the hole. Whereas previously he could 
barely hear the rattling of coals from the coal-scuttle, 
he was now able to catch the sound of an ash falling 
into the ash-pit. 

His next move was to test the depth of the parti- 
tion by inserting his finger in the hole he had made. 
He found it stopped by some obstacle before it had 
reached half its length, and anxious to satisfy him- 
self of the nature of this obstacle, he gently moved 
the tip of his finger to and fro over what was cer- 
tainly the edge of a book. 

This proved that his calculations had been correct 
and that the opening so accessible on his side, was 
completely veiled on the other by the books he had 
seen packed on the shelves. As these shelves had 
no other backing than the wall, he had feared strik- 
ing a spot not covered by a book. But he had not 
undertaken so risky a piece of work without first 
noting how nearly the tops of the books approached 
the line of the shelf above them, and the consequent 
unlikelihood of his striking the space between, at the 
height he planned the hole. He had even been care- 
ful to assure himself that all the volumes at this ex- 
act point stood far enough forward to afford room 
behind them for the chips and plaster he must neces- 
sarily push through with his auger, and also im- 


portant consideration for the free passage of the 
sounds by which he hoped to profit. 

As he listened for a moment longer, and then 
stooped to gather up the debris which had fallen on 
his own side of the partition, he muttered, in his old 
self-congratulatory way : 

" If the devil don't interfere in some way best 
known to himself, this opportunity I have made for 
myself of listening to this arrogant fellow's very 
heartbeats should give me some clew to his secret. 
As soon as I can stand it, I'll spend my evenings at 
this hole." 

But it was days before he could trust himself so 
far. Meanwhile their acquaintance ripened, though 
with no very satisfactory results. The detective 
found himself led into telling stories of his early 
home-life to keep pace with the man who always had 
something of moment and solid interest to impart. 
This was undesirable, for instead of calling out a 
corresponding confidence from Brotherson, it only 
seemed to make his conversation more coldly imper- 

In consequence, Sweetwater suddenly found him- 
self quite well and one evening, when he was sure 
that his neighbour was at home, he slid softly into 
his closet and laid his ear to the opening he had 
made there. The result was unexpected. Mr. 
Brotherson was pacing the floor, and talking softly 
to himself. 

At first, the cadence and full music of the tones 
conveyed nothing to our far from literary detective. 
The victim of his secret machinations was expressing 


himself in words, words; that was the point which 
counted with him. But as he listened longer and 
gradually took in the sense of these words, his heart 
went down lower and lower till it reached his boots. 
His inscrutable and ever disappointing neighbour 
was not indulging in self-communings of any kind. 
He was reciting poetry, and what was worse, poetry 
which he only half remembered and was trying to re- 
call; an incredible occupation for a man weighted 
with a criminal secret. 

Sweetwater was disgusted, and was withdrawing 
in high indignation from his vantage-point when 
something occurred of a startling enough nature to 
hold him where he was in almost breathless expecta- 

The hole which in the darkness of the closet was 
always faintly visible, even when the light was not 
very strong in the adjoining room, had suddenly be- 
come a bright and shining loop-hole, with a sugges- 
tion of movement in the space beyond. The book 
which had hid this hole on Brotherson's side had 
been taken down the one book in all those hun- 
dreds whose removal threatened Sweetwater's 
schemes, if not himself. 

For an instant the thwarted detective listened for 
the angry shout or the smothered oath which would 
naturally follow the discovery by Brotherson of this 
attempted interference with his privacy. 

But all was still on his side of the wall. A rust- 
ling of leaves could be heard, as the inventor searched 
for the poem he wanted, but nothing more. In 
withdrawing the book, he had failed to notice the 


hole in the plaster back of it. But he could hardly 
fail to see it when he came to put the book back. 
Meantime, suspense for Sweetwater. 

It was several minutes before he heard Mr. Broth- 
erson's voice again, then it was in triumphant repeti- 
tion of the lines which had escaped his memory. 
They were great words surely and Sweetwater never 
forgot them, but the impression which they made 
upon his mind, an impression so forcible that he was 
able to repeat them, months afterward to Mr. 
Gryce, did not prevent him from noting the tone in 
which they were uttered, nor the thud which followed 
as the book was thrown down upon the floor. 

" Fool ! " The word rang out in bitter irony 
from his irate neighbour's lips. ;< What does he 
know of woman ! Woman ! Let him court a rich 
one and see but that's all over and done with. 
No more harping on that string, and no more read- 
ing of poetry. I'll never, " The rest was lost in 
his throat and was quite unintelligible to the anxious 

Self-revealing words, which an instant before 
would have aroused Sweetwater's deepest interest I 
But they had suddenly lost all force for the unhappy 
listener. The sight of that hole still shining brightly 
before his eyes had distracted his thoughts and 
roused his liveliest apprehensions. If that book 
should be allowed to lie where it had fallen, then he 
was in for a period of uncertainty he shrank from 
contemplating. Any moment his neighbour might 
look up and catch sight of this hole bored in the 
backing of the shelves before him. Could the man 


who had been guilty of submitting him to this outrage 
stand the strain of waiting indefinitely for the mo- 
ment of discovery? He doubted it, if the suspense 
lasted too long. 

Shifting his position, he placed his eye where his 
ear had been. He could see. very little. The space 
before him, limited as it was to the width of the one 
volume withdrawn, precluded his seeing aught but 
what lay directly before him. Happily, it was in 
this narrow line of vision that Mr. Brotherson stood. 
He had resumed work upon his model and was so 
placed that while his face was not visible, his hands 
were, and as Sweetwater watched these hands and 
noticed the delicacy of their manipulation, he was 
enough of a workman to realise that work so fine 
called for an undivided attention. He need not fear 
the gaze shifting, while those hands moved as warily 
as they did now. 

Relieved for the moment, he left his post and, sit- 
ting down on the edge of his cot, gave himself up to 

He deserved this mischance. Had he profited 
properly by Mr. Gryce's teachings, he would not 
have been caught like this ; he would have calculated 
not upon the nine hundred and ninety-nine chances 
of that book being left alone, but upon the thou- 
sandth one of its being the very one to be singled out 
and removed. Had he done this, had he taken 
pains to so roughen and discolour the opening he had 
made, that it would look like an ancient rat hole in- 
stead of showing a clean bore, he would have some 
answer to give Brotherson when he came to question 


him in regard to it. But now the whole thing seemed 
up ! He had shown himself a fool and by good 
rights ought to acknowledge his defeat and return to 
Headquarters. But he had too much spirit for that. 
He would rather yes, he would rather face the 
pistol he had once seen in his enemy's hand. Yet it 
was hard to sit here waiting, waiting 

Suddenly he started upright. He would go meet 
his fate be present in the room itself when the 
discovery was made which threatened to upset all 
his pLas. He was not ashamed of his calling, and 
Brotherson would think twice before attacking him 
when once convinced that he had the Department 
behind him. 

" Excuse me, comrade," were the words with 
which he endeavoured to account for his presence at 
Brotherson's door. " My lamp smells so, and I've 
made such a mess of my work to-day that I've just 
stepped in for a chat. If I'm not wanted, say so. I 
don't want to bother you, but you do look pleasant 
here. I hope the thing I'm turning over in my head 
every man has his schemes for making a fortune, 
you know will be a success some day. I'd like a 
big room like this, and a lot of books, and and 

Craning his neck, he took a peep at the shelves, 
with an air of open admiration which effectually 
concealed his real purpose. What he wanted was 
to catch one glimpse of that empty space from his 
present standpoint, and he was both astonished and 
relieved to note how narrow and inconspicuous it 
looked. Certainly, he had less to fear than he sup- 


posed, and when, upon Mr. Brotherson's invitation, 
he stepped into the room, it was with a dash of his 
former audacity, which gave him, unfortunately, 
perhaps, a quick, strong and unexpected likeness to 
his old self. 

But if Brotherson noticed this, nothing in his man- 
ner gave proof of the fact. Though usually averse 
to visitors, especially when employed as at present 
on his precious model, he quite warmed towards his 
unexpected guest, and even led the way to where it 
stood uncovered on the table. 

" You find me at work," he remarked. " I don't 
suppose you understand any but your own? " 

" If you mean to ask if I understand what you're 
trying to do there, I'm free to say that I don't. I 
couldn't tell now, off-hand, whether it's an air-ship 
you're planning, a hydraulic machine or or " 
He stopped, with a laugh and turned towards the 
book-shelves. " Now here's what / like. These 
books just take my eye." 

" Look at them, then. I like to see a man inter- 
ested in books. Only, I thought if you knew how 
to handle wire, I would get you to hold this end 
while I work with the other." 

" I guess I know enough for that," was Sweetwa- 
ter's gay rejoinder. But when he felt that communi- 
cating wire in his hand and experienced for the first 
time the full influence of the other's eye, it took all 
his hardihood to hide the hypnotic thrill it gave him. 
Though he smiled and chatted, he could not help ask- 
ing himself between whiles, what had killed the poor 
washerwoman across the court, and what had killed 


Miss Challoner. Something visible or something in- 
visible? Something which gave warning of attack, or 
something which struck in silence. He found him- 
self gazing long and earnestly at this man's hand, 
and wondering if death lay under it. It was a strong 
hand, a deft, clean-cut member, formed to respond to 
the slightest hint from the powerful brain controlling 
it. But was this its whole story. Had he said all 
when he had said this? 

Fascinated by the question, Sweetwater died a 
hundred deaths in his awakened fancy, as he fol- 
lowed the sharp short instructions which fell with 
cool precision from the other's lips. A hundred 
deaths, I say, but with no betrayal of his folly. The 
anxiety he showed was that of one eager to please, 
which may explain why on the conclusion of his task, 
Mr. Brotherson gave him one of his infrequent 
smiles and remarked, as he buried the model under 
its cover, " You're handy and you're quiet at your 
job. Who knows but that I shall want you again. 
Will you come if I call you? " 

" Won't I ? " was the gay retort, as the detective 
thus released, stooped for the book still lying on the 
floor. " Paolo and Francesca," he read, from the 
back, as he laid it on the table. "Poetry?" he 

" Rot," scornfully returned the other, as he 
moved to take down a bottle and some glasses from 
a cupboard let into another portion of the wall. 

Sweetwater taking advantage of the moment, 
sidled towards the shelf where that empty space 
still gaped with the tell-tale hole at the back. He 


could easily have replaced the missing book before 
Mr. Brotherson turned. But the issue was too 
doubtful. He was dealing with no absent-minded 
fool, and it behooved him to avoid above all things 
calling attention to the book or to the place on the 
shelf where it belonged. 

But there was one thing he could do and did. 
Reaching out a finger as deft as Brotherson's own, 
he pushed a second volume into the place of the one 
that was gone. This veiled the auger-hole com- 
pletely; a fact which so entirely relieved his mind 
that his old smile came back like sunshine to his lips, 
and it was only by a distinct effort that he kept the 
dancing humour from his eyes as he prepared to re- 
fuse the glass which Brotherson now brought for- 

" None of that! " said he. " You mustn't tempt 
me. The doctor has shut down on all kinds of spir- 
its for two months more, at least. But don't let me 
hinder you. I can bear to smell the stuff. My 
turn will come again some day." 

But Brotherson did not drink. Setting down the 
glass he carried, he took up the book lying near, 
weighed it in his hand and laid it down again, with 
an air of thoughtful inquiry. Then he suddenly 
pushed it towards Sweetwater. " Do you want it? " 
he asked. 

Sweetwater was too taken aback to answer imme- 
diately. This was a move he did not understand. 
Want it, he? What he wanted was to see it put back 
in its place on the shelf. Did Brotherson suspect 


this? The supposition was incredible; yet who 
could read a mind so mysterious? 

Sweetwater, debating the subject, decided that the 
risk of adding to any such possible suspicion was less 
to be dreaded than the continued threat offered by 
that unoccupied space so near the hole which testi- 
fied so unmistakably of the means he had taken to 
spy upon this suspected man's privacy. So, after a 
moment of awkward silence, not out of keeping with 
the character he had assumed, he calmly refused the 
present as he had the glass. 

Unhappily he was not rewarded by seeing the de- 
spised volume restored to its shelf. It still lay 
where its owner had pushed it, when, with some awk- 
wardly muttered thanks, the discomfited detective 
withdrew to his own room. 



EARLY morning saw Sweetwater peering into the 
depths of his closet. The hole was hardly visible. 
This meant that the book he had pushed across it 
from the other side had not been removed. 

Greatly re-assured by the sight, he awaited his op- 
portunity, and as soon as a suitable one presented it- 
self, prepared the hole for inspection by breaking 
away its edges and begriming it well with plaster and 
old dirt. This done, he left matters to arrange them- 
selves; which they did, after this manner. 

Mr. Brotherson suddenly developed a great need 
of him, and it became a common thing for him to 
spend the half and, sometimes, the whole of the 
evening in the neighbouring room. This was just 
what he had worked for, and his constant intercourse 
with the man whose secret he sought to surprise 
should have borne fruit. But it did not. Nothing 
in the eager but painstaking inventor showed a dis- 
tracted mind or a heavily-burdened soul. Indeed, 
he was so calm in all his ways, so precise and so self- 
contained, that Sweetwater often wondered what had 
become of the fiery agitator and eloquent propa- 
gandist of new and startling doctrines. 

Then, he thought he understood the riddle. The 
model was reaching its completion, and Brotherson's 
extreme interest in it and the confidence he had in its 



success swallowed up all lesser emotions. Were the 
invention to prove a failure but there was small 
hope of this. The man was of too well-poised a 
mind to over-estimate his work or miscalculate its 
place among modern improvements. Soon he would 
reach the goal of his desires, be praised, feted, made 
much of by the very people he now professedly 
scorned. There was no thoroughfare for Sweetwa- 
ter here. Another road must be found ; some secret, 
strange and unforeseen method of reaching a soul in- 
accessible to all ordinary or even extraordinary im- 

Would a night of thought reveal such a method? 
Night! the very word brought inspiration. A man 
is not his full self at night. Secrets which, under the 
ordinary circumstances of everyday life, lie too deep 
for surprise, creep from their hiding-places in the 
dismal hours of universal quiet, and lips which are 
dumb to the most subtle of questioners break into 
strange and self-revealing mutterings when sleep lies 
heavy on ear and eye and the forces of life and death 
are released to play with the rudderless spirit. 

It was in different words from these that Sweet- 
water reasoned, no doubt, but his conclusions were 
the same, and as he continued to brood over them, he 
saw a chance a fool's chance, possibly, (but fools 
sometimes win where wise men fail) of reaching 
those depths he still believed in, notwithstanding his 
failure to sound them. 

Addressing a letter to his friend in Twenty-ninth 
Street, he awaited reply in the shape of a small pack- 
age he had ordered sent to the corner drug-store. 


When it came, he carried it home in a state of min- 
gled hope and misgiving. Was he about to cap his 
fortnight of disappointment by another signal fail- 
ure; end the matter by disclosing his hand; lose all, 
or win all by an experiment as daring and possibly 
as fanciful as were his continued suspicions of this 
seemingly upright and undoubtedly busy man? 

He made no attempt to argue the question. The 
event called for the exercise of the most dogged ele- 
ments in his character and upon these he must rely. 
He would make the effort he contemplated, simply 
because he was minded to do so. That was all there 
was to it. But any one noting him well that night, 
would have seen that he ate little and consulted his 
watch continually. Sweetwater had not yet passed 
the line where work becomes routine and the feel- 
ings remain totally under control. 

Brotherson was unusually active and alert that 
evening. He was anxious to fit one delicate bit of 
mechanism into another, and he was continually in- 
terrupted by visitors. Some big event was on in the 
socialistic world, and his presence was eagerly de- 
manded by one brotherhood after another. Sweet- 
water, posted at his loop-hole, heard the arguments 
advanced by each separate spokesman, followed by 
Brotherson's unvarying reply: that when his work 
was done and he had proved his right to approach 
them with a message, they might look to hear from 
him again; but not before. His patience was inex- 
haustible, but he showed himself relieved when the 
hour grew too late for further interruption. He be- 
gan to whistle a token that all was going well with 


him, and Sweetwater, who had come to understand 
some of his moods, looked forward to an hour or two 
of continuous work on Brotherson's part and of 
dreary and impatient waiting on his own. But, as so 
many times before, he misread the man. Earlier than 
common much earlier, in fact, Mr. Brotherson laid 
down his tools and gave himself up to a restless pac- 
ing of the floor. This was not usual with him. Nor 
did he often indulge himself in playing on the piano 
as he did .to-night, beginning with a few heavenly 
strains and ending with a bang that made the key- 
board jump. Certainly something was amiss in the 
quarter where peace had hitherto reigned undis- 
turbed. Had the depths begun to heave, or were 
physical causes alone responsible for these unwonted 
ebullitions of feeling? 

The question was immaterial. Either would 
form an excellent preparation for the coup planned by 
Sweetwater; and when, after another hour of uncer- 
tainty, perfect silence greeted him from his neigh- 
bour's room, hope had soared again on exultant v/ing, 
far above all former discouragements. 

Mr. Brotherson's bed was in a remote corner from 
the loop-hole made by Sweetwater; but in the still- 
ness now pervading the whole building, the latter 
could hear his even breathing very distinctly. He 
was in a deep sleep. 

The young detective's moment had come. 

Taking from his breast a small box, he placed it 
on a shelf close against the partition. An instant of 
quiet listening, then he touched a spring in the side 
of the box and laid his ear, in haste, to his loop-hole. 


A strain of well-known music broke softly from 
the box and sent its vibrations through the wall. 

It was answered instantly by a stir within; then, 
as the noble air continued, awakening memories of 
that fatal instant when it crashed through the corri- 
dors of the Hotel Clermont, drowning Miss Chal- 
loner's cry if not the sound of her fall, a word burst 
from the sleeping man's lips which carried its own 
message to the listening detective. 

It was Edith ! Miss Challoner's first name, and the 
tone bespoke a shaken soul. 

Sweetwater, gasping with excitement, caught the 
box from the shelf and silenced it. It had done its 
work and it was no part of Sweetwater's plan to have 
this strain located, or even to be thought real. But 
its echo still lingered in Brotherson's otherwise un- 
conscious ears; for another "Edith!" escaped his 
lips, followed by a smothered but forceful utterance 
of these five words, " You know I promised you " 

Promised her what? He did not say. Would he 
have done so had the music lasted a trifle longer? 
Would he yet complete his sentence? Sweetwater 
trembled with eagerness and listened breathlessly 
for the next sound. Brotherson was awake. He 
was tossing in his bed. Now he has leaped to the 
floor. Sweetwater hears him groan, then comes an- 
other silence, broken at last by the sound of his body 
falling back upon the bed and the troubled ejacula- 
tion of "Good God!" wrung from lips no tor- 
ture could have forced into complaint under any day- 
time conditions. 

Sweetwater continued to listen, but he had heard 


all, and after some few minutes longer of fruitless 
waiting, he withdrew from his post. The episode 
was over. He would hear no more that night. 

Was he satisfied? Certainly the event, puerile as 
it might seem to some, had opened up strange vistas 
to his aroused imagination. The words " Edith, 
you know I promised you " were in themselves 
provocative of strange and doubtful conjectures. 
Had the sleeper under the influence of a strain of 
music indissolubly associated with the death of Miss 
Challoner, been so completely forced back into the 
circumstances and environment of that moment that 
his mind had taken up and his lips repeated the 
thoughts with which that moment of horror was 
charged? Sweetwater imagined the scene saw 
the figure of Brotherson hesitating at the top of the 
stairs saw hers advancing from the writing-room, 
with startled and uplifted hand heard the music 
the crash of that great finale and decided, with- 
out hesitation, that the words he had just heard were 
indeed the thoughts of that moment. " Edith, you 
know I promised you " What had he promised? 
What she received was death ! Had this been in his 
mind? Would this have been the termination of the 
sentence had he wakened less soon to consciousness 
and caution? 

Sweetwater dared to believe it. He was no nearer 
comprehending the mystery it involved than he had 
been before, but he felt sure that he had been given 
one true and positive glimpse into this harassed soul, 
which showed its deeply hidden secret to be both 
deadly and fearsome; and happy to have won his 


way so far into the mystic labyrinth he had sworn to 
pierce, he rested in happy unconsciousness till morn- 
ing when 

Could it be? Was it he who was dreaming now, 
or was the event of the night a mere farce of his own 
imagining? Mr. Brotherson was whistling in his 
room, gaily and with ever increasing verve, and the 
tune which filled the whole floor with music was the 
same grand finale from William Tell which had 
seemed to work such magic in the night. As Sweet- 
water caught the mellow but indifferent notes sound- 
ing from those lips of brass, he dragged forth the 
music-box he held hidden in his coat pocket, and fling- 
ing it on the floor stamped upon it. 

; ' The man is too strong for me," he cried. " His 
heart is granite ; he meets my every move. What am 
I to do now? " 



FOR a day Sweetwater acknowledged himself to be 
mentally crushed, disillusioned and defeated. Then 
his spirits regained their poise. It would take a 
heavy weight indeed to keep them down perma- 

His opinion was not changed in regard to his neigh- 
bour's secret guilt. A demeanour of this sort sug- 
gested bravado rather than bravery to the ever sus- 
picious detective. But he saw, very plainly by this 
time, that he would have to employ more subtle 
methods yet ere his hand would touch the goal which 
so tantalisingly eluded him. 

His work at the bench suffered that week; he made 
two mistakes. But by Saturday night he had sat- 
isfied himself that he had reached the point where he 
would be justified in making use of Miss Challoner's 
letters. So he telephoned his wishes to New York, 
and awaited the promised developments with an anx- 
iety we can only understand by realising how much 
greater were his chances of failure than of success. 
To ensure the latter, every factor in his scheme must 
work to perfection. The medium of communication 
(a young, untried girl) must do her part with all the 
skill of artist and author combined. Would she dis- 
appoint them? He did not think so. Women pos- 
sess a marvellous adaptability for this kind of work, 



and this one was French, which made the case still 
more hopeful. 

But Brotherson ! In what spirit would he meet 
the proposed advances? Would he even admit the 
girl, and, if he did, would the interview bear any 
such fruit as Sweetwater hoped for? The man who 
could mock the terrors of the night by a careless 
repetition of a strain instinct with the most sacred 
memories, was not to be depended upon to show 
much feeling at sight of a departed woman's writing. 

But no other hope remained, and Sweetwater 
faced the attempt with heroic determination. 

The day was Sunday, which ensured Brotherson's 
being at home. Nothing would have lured Sweet- 
water out for a moment, though he had no reason to 
expect that the affair he was anticipating would come 
off till early evening. 

But it did. Late in the afternoon he heard the 
expected steps go by his door a woman's steps. 
But they were not alone. A man's accompanied 
them. What man? Sweetwater hastened to satisfy 
himself on this point by laying his ear to the parti- 

Instantly the whole conversation became audible. 

" An errand? Oh, yees, I have an errand! " ex- 
plained the evidently unwelcome intruder, in her 
broken English. " This is my brother Pierre. My 
name is Celeste; Celeste Ledru. I understand Eng- 
lish ver well. I have worked much in families. 
But he understands nothing. He is all French. He 
accompanies me for for the what you call it? 
les convenances. He knows nothing of the beesiness." 


Sweetwater in the darkness of his closet laughed in 
his gleeful appreciation. 

" Great ! " was his comment. " Just great ! She 
has thought of everything or Mr. Gryce has." 

Meanwhile, the girl was proceeding with increased 

" What is this beesiness, monsieur? I have some- 
thing to sell so you Americans speak. Something 
you will want much ver sacred, ver precious. A 
souvenir from the tomb, monsieur. Will you give 
ten no, that is too leetle fifteen dollars for it? 
It is worth Oh, more, much more to the true lover. 
Pierre, tu es bete. Teins-tu droit sur ta chaise. M. 
Brotherson est un monsieur comme il faut." 

This adjuration, uttered in sharp reprimand and 
with but little of the French grace, may or may not 
have been understood by the unsympathetic man they 
were meant to impress. But the name which ac- 
companied them his own name, never heard but 
once before in this house, undoubtedly caused the 
silence which almost reached the point of embarrass- 
ment, before he broke it with the harsh remark: 

" Your French may be good, but it does not go with 
me. Yet is it more intelligible than your English. 
What do you want here? What have you in that 
bag you wish to open; and what do you mean by the 
sentimental trash with which you offer it? " 

" Ah, monsieur has not memory of me," came in 
the sweetest tones of a really seductive voice. " You 
astonish me, monsieur. I thought you knew 
everybody else does Oh, tout le mondc, monsieur, 
that I was Miss Challoner's maid near her when 


other people were not near her the very day she 

A pause; then an angry exclamation from some 
one. Sweetwater thought from the brother, who 
may have misinterpreted some look or gesture on 
Brotherson's part. Brotherson himself would not 
be apt to show surprise in any such noisy way. 

"I I saw many things Oh many things " 
the girl proceeded with an admirable mixture of sug- 
gestion and reserve. " That day and other days too. 
She did not talk Oh, no, she did not talk, but I saw 
Oh, yes, I saw that she that you I'll have to 
say it, monsieur, that you were tres bons amis after 
that week in Lenox." 

'' Well? " His utterance of this word was vigor- 
ous, but not tender. ''What are you coming to? 
What can you have to show me in this connection 
that I will believe in for a moment? " 

" I have these is monsieur certaine that no one 
can hear? I wouldn't have anybody hear what I 
have to tell you, for the world for all the world." 

" No one can overhear." 

For the first time that day Sweetwater breathed a 
full, deep breath. This assurance had sounded 
heartfelt. " Blessings on her cunning young head. 
She thinks of everything." 

' You are unhappy. You have thought Miss Chal- 
loner cold; that she had no response for your ver 
ardent passion. But " these words were uttered 
sotto <uoce and with telling pauses " but I 
know ver much better than that. She was ver 
proud. She had a right; she was no poor girl like me 


but she spend hours hours in writing letters she 
nevaire send. I saw one, just once, for a leetle min- 
ute; while you could breathe so short as that; and it 
began with Chen, or your English for that, and it 
ended with words Oh, ver much like these : You 
may nevaire see these lines, which was ver interesting, 
veree so, and made one want to see what she did 
with letters she wrote and nevaire mail; so I watch 
and look, and one day I see them. She had a leetle 
ivory box Oh, ver nice, ver pretty. I thought it 
was jewels she kept locked up so tight. But, non, 
non, non. It was letters these letters. I heard 
them rattle, rattle, not once but many times. You 
believe me, monsieur ? " 

" I believe you to have taken every advantage pos- 
sible to spy upon your mistress. I believe that, yes." 

" From interest, monsieur, from great interest." 

" Self-interest." 

" As monsieur pleases. But it was strange, ver 
strange for a grande dame like that to write letters 

sheets on sheets and then not send them, nev- 
aire. I dreamed of those letters I could not help 
it, no; and when she died so quick with no word 
for any one, no word at all, I thought of those writ- 
ings so secret, so of the heart, and when no one no- 
ticed or thought about this box, or or the key 
she kept shut tight, oh, always tight in her leetle gold 
purse, I Monsieur, do you want to see those let- 
ters? " asked the girl, with a gulp. Evidently his 
appearance frightened her or had her acting 
reached this point of extreme finish? " I had nev- 
aire the chance to put them back. And and 


belong to monsieur. They are his all his and 
so beautiful! Ah, just like poetry." 

" I don't consider them mine. I haven't a par- 
ticle of confidence in you or in your story. You are a 
thief self-convicted ; or you're an agent of the po- 
lice whose motives I neither understand nor care to 
investigate. Take up your bag and go. I haven't 
a cent's worth of interest in its contents." 

She started to her feet. Sweetwater heard her 
chair grate on the painted floor, as she pushed it 
back in rising. The brother rose too, but more 
calmly. Brotherson did not stir. Sweetwater felt 
his hopes rapidly dying down down into ashes, 
when suddenly her voice broke forth in pants : 

" And Marie said everybody said that you 
loved our great lady; that you, of the people, com- 
mon, common, working with the hands, living with 
men and women working with the hands, that you 
had soul, sentiment what you will of the good 
and the great, and that you would give your eyes for 
her words, si fines, si spirituelles, so like des vers de 
poete. False! false! all false! She was an angel. 
You are read that ! " she vehemently broke in, 
opening her bag and whisking a paper down before 
him. " Read and understand my proud and lovely 
lady. She did right to die. You are hard hard. 
You would have killed her if she had not " 

"Silence, woman! I will read nothing!" came 
hissing from the strong man's teeth, set in almost 
ungovernable anger. " Take back this letter, as you 
call it, and leave my room." 

"Nevaire! You will not read? But you shall, 


you shall. Behold another! One, two, three, 
four! " Madly they flew from her hand. Madly 
she continued her vituperative attack. " Beast ! 
beast ! That she should pour out her innocent heart 
to you, you! I do not want your money, Monsieur 
of the common street, of the common house. It 
would be dirt. Pierre, it would be dirt. Ah, bah I 
je m'oublie tout a fait. Pierre, il est bete. II re- 
fuse de les toucher. Mais il faut qu'il les touche, si 
je les laisse sur le plancher. Va-?en! Je me moque 
de lui. Canaille! L'homme du peuple, tout a fait 
du peuple! " 

A loud slam the skurrying of feet through the 
hall, accompanied by the slower and heavier tread 
of the so-called brother, then silence, and such si- 
lence that Sweetwater fancied he could catch the 
sound of Brotherson's heavy breathing. His own 
was silenced to a gasp. What a treasure of a girl! 
How natural her indignation ! What an instinct she 
showed and what comprehension! This high and 
mighty handling of a most difficult situation and a 
most difficult man, had imposed on Brotherson, had 
almost imposed upon himself. Those letters so 
beautiful, so spirituelle! Yet, the odds were that she 
had never read them, much less abstracted them. 
The minx ! the ready, resourceful, wily, daring minx !' 

But had she imposed on Brotherson? As the 
silence continued, Sweetwater began to doubt. He 
understood quite well the importance of his neigh- 
bour's first movement. Were he to tear those let- 
ters into shreds! He might be thus tempted. All 
depended on the strength of his present mood and 


the real nature of the secret which lay buried in his 

Was that heart as flinty as it seemed? Was there 
no place for doubt or even for curiosity, in its im- 
penetrable depths? Seemingly, he had not moved 
foot or hand since his unwelcome visitors had left. 
He was doubtless still staring at the scattered sheets 
lying before him; possibly battling with unac- 
customed impulses ; possibly weighing deeds and con- 
sequences in those slow moving scales of his in which 
no man could cast a weight with any certainty how 
far its even balance would be disturbed. 

There was a sound as of settling coal. Only at 
night would one expect to hear so slight a sound as 
that in a tenement full of noisy children. But the 
moment chanced to be propitious, and it not only 
attracted the attention of Sweetwater on his side of 
the wall, but it struck the ear of Brotherson also. 
With an ejaculation as bitter as it was impatient, he 
roused himself and gathered up the letters. Sweet- 
water could hear the successive rustlings as he 
bundled them up in his hand. Then came another 
silence then the lifting of a stove lid. 

Sweetwater had not been wrong in his secret ap- 
prehension. His identification with his unimpres- 
sionable neighbour's mood had shown him what to 
expect. These letters these innocent and precious 
outpourings of a rare and womanly soul the only 
conceivable open sesame to the hard-locked nature 
he found himself pitted against, would soon be re- 
solved into a vanishing puff of smoke. 

But the lid was thrust back, and the letters re- 


mained in hand. Mortal strength has its limits. 
Even Brotherson could not shut down that lid on 
words which might have been meant for him, harshly 
as he had repelled the idea. 

The pause which followed told little; but when 
Sweetwater heard the man within move with char- 
acteristic energy to the door, turn the key and step 
back again to his place at the table, he knew that 
the danger moment had passed and that those let- 
ters were about to be read, not casually, but seriously, 
as indeed their contents merited. 

This caused Sweetwater to feel serious himself. 
Upon what result might he calculate? What would 
happen to this hardy soul, when the fact he so scorn- 
fully repudiated, was borne in upon him, and he saw 
that the disdain which had antagonised him was a 
mere device a cloak to hide the secret heart of 
love and eager womanly devotion? Her death 
little as Brotherson would believe it up till now 
had been his personal loss the greatest which can 
befall a man. When he came to see this when 
the modest fervour of her unusual nature began to 
dawn upon him in these self-revelations, would the 
result be remorse, or just the deadening and final 
extinction of whatever tenderness he may have re- 
tained for her memory? 

Impossible to tell. The balance of probability 
hung even. Sweetwater recognised this, and clung, 
breathless, to his loop-hole. Fain would he have 
seen, as well as heard. 

Mr. Brotherson read the first letter, standing. As 
it soon became public property, I will give it here, 


just as it afterwards appeared in the columns of the 
greedy journals: 

" Beloved: 

" When I sit, as I often do, in perfect quiet under the 
stars, and dream that you are looking at them too, not for 
hours as I do, but for one full moment in which your 
thoughts are with me as wholly as mine are with you, I 
feel that the bond between us, unseen by the world, and 
possibly not wholly recognised by ourselves, is instinct with 
the same power which links together the eternities. 

" It seems to have always been ; to have known no begin- 
ning, only a budding, an efflorescence, the visible product of a 
hidden but always present reality. A month ago and I was 
ignorant, even, of your name. Now, you seem the best 
known to me, the best understood, of God's creatures. One 
afternoon of perfect companionship one flash of strong 
emotion, with its deep, true insight into each other's soul, 
and the miracle was wrought. We had met, and hence- 
forth, parting would mean separation only, and not the 
severing of a mutual bond. One hand, and one only, could 
do that now. I will not name that hand. For us there is 
nought ahead but life. 

" Thus do I ease my heart in the silence which conditions 
impose upon us. Some day I shall hear your voice again, 
and then " 

The paper dropped from the reader's hand. It 
was several minutes before he took up another. 

This one, as it happened, antedated the other, as 
will appear on reading it: 

" My friend: 

" I said that I could not write to you that we must 
wait. You were willing; but there is much to be accom- 


plished, and the silence may be long. My father is not an 
easy man to please, but he desires my happiness and will 
listen to my plea when the right hour comes. When you 
have won your place when you have shown yourself to 
be the man I feel you to be, then my father will recognise 
your worth, and the way will be cleared, despite the ob- 
stacles which now intervene. 

" But meantime ! Ah, you will not know it, but words 
will rise the heart must find utterance. What the lip 
cannot utter, nor the looks reveal, these pages shall hold in 
sacred trust for you till the day when my father will place 
my hand in yours, with heart-felt approval. 

" Is it a folly ? A woman's weak evasion of the strong 
silence of man? You may say so some day; but somehow, 
I doubt it I doubt it." 

The creaking of a chair ; the man within had 
seated himself. There was no other sound; a soul 
in turmoil wakens no echoes. Sweetwater envied 
the walls surrounding the unsympathetic reader. 
They could see. He could only listen. 

A little while; then that slight rustling again of 
the unfolding sheet. The following was read, and 
then the fourth and last: 

" Dearest: 

" Did you think I had never seen you till that day we met 
In Lenox? I am going to tell you a secret a great, great 
secret such a one as a woman hardly whispers to her own 

" One day, in early summer, I was sitting in St. Barthol- 
omew's Church on Fifth Avenue, waiting for the services 
to begin. It was early and the congregation was assem- 
bling. While idly watching the people coming in, I saw a 


gentleman pass by me up the aisle, who made me forget all 
the others. He had not the air of a New Yorker; he was 
not even dressed in city style, but as I noted his face and 
expression, I said way down in my heart, ' That is the kind 
of man I could love; the only man I have ever seen who 
could make me forget my own world and my own people.' 
It was a passing thought, soon forgotten. But when in that 
hour of embarrassment and peril on Greylock Mountain, I 
looked up into the face of my rescuer and saw again that 
countenance which so short a time before had called into 
life impulses till then utterly unknown, I knew that my 
hour was come. And that was why my confidence was so 
spontaneous and my belief in the future so absolute. 

" I trust your love which will work wonders ; and I trust 
my own, which sprang at a look but only gathered strength 
and permanence when I found that the soul of the man I 
loved bettered his outward attractions, making the ideal of 
my foolish girlhood seem as unsubstantial and evanescent as 
a dream in the glowing noontide." 

"My Own: 

" I can say so now ; for you have written to me, and I 
have the dancing words with which to silence any unsought 
doubt which might subdue the exuberance of these secret 

" I did not expect this. I thought that you would remain 
as silent as myself. But men's ways are not our ways. 
They cannot exhaust longing in purposeless words on scraps 
of soulless paper, and I am glad that they cannot. I love 
you for your impatience; for your purpose, and for the 
manliness which will win for you yet all that you covet of 
fame, accomplishment and love. You expect no reply, but 
there are ways in which one can keep silent and yet speak. 
Won't you be surprised when your answer comes in a man- 
ner you have never thought of? " 



IN his interest in what was going on on the other 
side of the wall, Sweetwater had forgotten himself. 
Daylight had declined, but in the darkness of the 
closet this change had passed unheeded. Night it- 
self might come, but that should not force him to 
leave his post so long as his neighbour remained be- 
hind his locked door, brooding over the words of 
love and devotion which had come to him, as it were, 
from the other world. 

But was he brooding? That sound of iron clat- 
tering upon iron ! That smothered exclamation and 
the laugh which ended it! Anger and determination 
rang in that laugh. It had a hideous sound which 
prepared Sweetwater for the smell which now 
reached his nostrils. The letters were burning; this 
time the lid had been lifted from the stove with un- 
relenting purpose. Poor Edith Challoner's touch- 
ing words had met a different fate from any which 
she, in her ignorance of this man's nature, a nature 
to which she had ascribed untold perfections 
could possibly have conceived. 

As Sweetwater thought of this, he stirred nerv- 
ously in the darkness, and broke into silent invective 
against the man who could so insult the memory of 
one who had perished under the blight of his own 
coldness and misunderstanding. Then he suddenly 



started back surprised and apprehensive. Brother- 
son had unlocked his door, and was coming rapidly 
his way. Sweetwater heard his step in the hall and 
had hardly time to bound from his closet, when he 
saw his own door burst in and found himself face 
to face with his redoubtable neighbour, in a state of 
such rage as few men could meet without quailing, 
even were they of his own stature, physical vigour 
and prowess; and Sweetwater was a small man. 

However, disappointment such as he had just ex- 
perienced brings with it a desperation which often 
outdoes courage, and the detective, smiling with an 
air of gay surprise, shouted out : 

; ' Well, what's the matter now? Has the machine 
busted, or tumbled into the fire or sailed away to 
lands unknown out of your open window? " 

' You were coming out of that closet," was the 
fierce rejoinder. "What have you got there? 
Something which concerns me, or why should your 
face go pale at my presence and your forehead drip 
with sweat? Don't think that you've deceived me 
for a moment as to your business here. I recog- 
nised you immediately. You've played the stranger 
well, but you've a nose and an eye nobody could 
forget. I have known all along that I had a police 
spy for a neighbour; but it didn't faze me. I've 
nothing to conceal, and wouldn't mind a regiment of 
you fellows if you'd only play a straight game. But 
when it comes to foisting upon me a parcel of letters 
to which I have no right, and then setting a fellow 
like you to count my groans or whatever else they 
expected to hear, I have a right to defend myself, 


and defend myself I will, by Godl But first, let 
me be sure that my accusations will stand. Come 
into this closet with me. It abuts on the wall of 
my room and has its own secret, I know. What 
is it? I have you at an advantage now, and you 
shall tell." 

He did have Sweetwater at an advantage, and the 
detective knew it and disdained a struggle which 
would have only called up a crowd, friendly to the 
other but inimical to himself. Allowing Brother- 
son to drag him into the closet, he stood quiescent, 
while the determined man who held him with one 
hand, felt about with the other over the shelves and 
along the partitions till he came to the hole which had 
offered such a happy means of communication be- 
tween the two rooms. Then, with a laugh almost 
as bitter in tone as that which rang from Brother- 
son's lips, he acknowledged that business had its 
necessities and that apologies from him were in 
order; adding, as they both stepped out into the 
rapidly darkening room : 

" We've played a bout, we two; and you've come 
out ahead. Allow me to congratulate you, Mr. 
Brotherson. You've cleared yourself so far as I am 
concerned. I leave this ranch to-night." 

The frown had come back to the forehead of the 
indignant man who confronted him. 

"So you listened," he cried; "listened when you 
weren't sneaking under my eye! A fine occupation 
for a man who can dove-tail a corner like an adept. 
I wish I had let you join the brotherhood you were 
good enough to mention. They would know how 


to appreciate your double gifts and how to reward 
your excellence in the one, if not in the other. What 
did the police expect to learn about me that they 
should consider it necessary to call into exercise such 
extraordinary talents? " 

" I'm not good at conundrums. I was given a 
task to perform, and I performed it," was Sweet- 
water's sturdy reply. Then slowly, with his eye 
fixed directly upon his antagonist, " I guess they 
thought you a man. And so did I until I heard you 
burn those letters. Fortunately we have copies." 

" Letters ! " Fury thickened the speaker's voice, 
and lent a savage gleam to his eye. " Forgeries ! 
Make believes ! Miss Challoner never wrote the 
drivel you dare to designate as letters. It was con- 
cocted at Police Headquarters. They made me tell 
my story and then they found some one who could 
wield the poetic pen. I'm obliged to them for the 
confidence they show in my credulity. / credit Miss 
Challoner with such words as have been given me to 
read here to-day? I knew the lady, and I know 
myself. Nothing that passed between us, not an 
event in which we were both concerned, has been 
forgotten by me, and no feature of our intercourse 
fits the language you have ascribed to her. On the 
contrary, there is a lamentable contradiction between 
facts as they were and the fancies you have made her 
indulge in. And this, as you must acknowledge, 
not only proves their falsity, but exonerates Miss 
Challoner from all possible charge of sentimen- 

' Yet she certainly wrote those letters. We had 


them from Mr. Challoner. The woman who 
brought them was really her maid. We have not 
deceived you in this." 

" I do not believe you." 

It was not offensively said; but the conviction it 
expressed was absolute. Sweetwater recognised the 
tone, as one of truth, and inwardly laid down his 
arms. He could never like the man; there was too 
much iron in his fibre; but he had to acknowledge 
that as a foe he was invulnerable and therefore ad- 
mirable to one who had the good sense to appreciate 

" I do not want to believe you." Thus did 
Brotherson supplement his former sentence. " For 
if I were to attribute those letters to her, I should 
have to acknowledge that they were written to an- 
other man than myself. And this would be anything 
but agreeable to me. Now I am going to my room 
and to my work. You may spend the rest of the 
evening or the whole night, if you will,, listening at 
that hole. As heretofore, the labour will be all 
yours, and the indifference mine." 

With a satirical play of feature which could 
hardly be called a smile, he nodded and left the room. 



" IT'S all up. I'm beaten on my own ground." 
Thus confessed Sweetwater, in great dejection, to 
himself. " But I'm going to take advantage of the 
permission he's just given me and continue the listen- 
ing act. Just because he told me to and just because 
he thinks I won't. I'm sure it's no worse than to 
spend hours of restless tossing in bed, trying to 

But our young detective did neither. 

As he was putting his supper dishes away, a mes- 
senger boy knocked at his door and handed him a 
note. It was from Mr. Gryce and ran thus : 

" Steal off, if you can, and as soon as you can, and meet 
me in Twenty-ninth Street. A discovery has been made 
which alters the whole situation." 




"WHAT'S happened? Something very important? 
I ought to hope so after this confounded failure." 

"Failure? Didn't he read the letters?" 

" Yes, he read them. Had to, but " 

"Didn't weaken? Eh?" 

" No, he didn't weaken. You can't get water out 
of a millstone. You may squeeze and squeeze; but 
it's your fingers which suffer, not it. He thinks we 
manufactured those letters ourselves on purpose to 
draw him." 

"Humph! I knew we had a reputation for 
finesse, but I didn't know that it ran that high." 

" He denies everything. Said she would never 
have written such letters to him ; even goes so far as 
to declare that if she did write them (he must 
be strangely ignorant of her handwriting) they were 
meant for some other man than himself. All rot, 
but " A hitch of the shoulder conveyed Sweet- 
water's disgust. His uniform good nature was 
strangely disturbed. 

But Mr. Gryce's was not. The faint smile with 
which he smoothed with an easy, circling movement, 
the already polished top of his ever present cane, 
conveyed a secret complacency which called up a 
flash of discomfiture to his greatly irritated com- 



" He says that, does he? You found him on the 
whole tolerably straightforward, eh? A hard nut; 
but hard nuts are usually sound ones. Come, now! 
prejudice aside, what's your honest opinion of the 
man you've had under your eye and ear for three 
solid weeks? Hasn't there been the best of reasons 
for your failure? Speak up, my boy. Squarely, 

" I can't. I hate the fellow. I hate any one who 
makes me look ridiculous. He well, well, if 
you'll have it, sir, I will say this much. If it weren't 
for that blasted coincidence of the two deaths equally 
mysterious, equally under his eye, I'd stake my life 
on his honesty. But that coincidence stumps me 
and and a sort of feeling I have here." 

It is to be hoped that the slap he gave his breast, 
at this point, carried off some of his superfluous emo- 
tion. " You can't account for a feeling, Mr. Gryce. 
The man has no heart. He's as hard as rocks." 

" A not uncommon lack where the head plays so 
big a part. We can't hang him on any such argu- 
ment as that. You've found no evidence against 

"N no." The hesitating admission was only 
a proof of Sweetwater's obstinacy. 

' Then listen to this. The test with the letters 
failed, because what he said about them was true. 
They were not meant for him. Miss Challoner had 
another lover." 

" Only another? I thought there were a half- 
dozen, at least." 

" Another whom she favoured. The letters 

O. B. AGAIN 197 

found in her possession not the ones she wrote 
herself, but those which were written to her over the 
signature O. B. were not all from the same hand. 
Experts have been busy with them for a week, and 
their reports are unanimous. The O. B. who wrote 
the threatening lines acknowledged to by Orlando 
Brotherson, was not the O. B. who penned all of 
those love letters. The similarity in the writing mis- 
led us at first, but once the doubt was raised by Mr. 
Challoner's discovery of an allusion in one of them 
which pointed to another writer than Mr. Brother- 
son, and experts had no difficulty in reaching the 
decision I have mentioned." 

"Two O. B.s! Isn't that incredible, Mr. 

" Yes, it is incredible ; but the incredible is not the 
impossible. The man you've been shadowing de- 
nies that these expressive effusions of Miss Challoner 
were meant for him. Let us see, then, if we can find 
the man they were meant for." 

"The second O. B.?" 

" Yes." 

Sweetwater's face instantly lit up. 

" Do you mean that I after my egregious fail- 
ure am not to be kept on the dunce's seat ? That 
you will give me this new job? " 

' Yes. We don't know of a better man. It 
isn't your fault, you said it yourself, that water 
couldn't be squeezed out of a millstone." 

" The Superintendent how does he feel about 

" He was the first one to mention you." 


"And the Inspector? " 

" Is glad to see us on a new tack." 

A pause, during which the eager light in the 
young detective's eye clouded over. Presently he 
remarked : 

"How will the finding of another O. B. alter 
Mr. Brotherson's position? He still will be the 
one person on the spot, known to have cherished a 
grievance against the victim of this mysterious kill- 
ing. To my mind, this discovery of a more 
favoured rival, brings in an element of motive which 
may rob our self-reliant friend of some of his 
complacency. We may further, rather than destroy, 
our case against Brotherson by locating a second 
O. B." 

Mr. Gryce's eyes twinkled. 

" That won't make your task any more irksome," 
he smiled. ' The loop we thus throw out is as 
likely to catch Brotherson as his rival. It all de- 
pends upon the sort of man we find in this second 
O. B. ; and whether, in some way unknown to us, 
he gave her cause for the sudden and overwhelming 
rush of despair which alone supports this general 
theory of suicide." 

14 The prospect grows pleasing. Where am I to 
look for my man? " 

1 Your ticket is bought to Derby, Pennsylvania. 
If he is not employed in the great factories there, 
we do not know where to find him. We have no 
other clew." 

" I see. It's a short journey I have before me." 

" It'll bring the colour to your cheeks." 

O. B. AGAIN 199 

" Oh, I'm not kicking." 

" You will start to-morrow." 

" Wish it were to-day." 

" And you will first inquire, not for O. B., that's 
too indefinite; but for a young girl by the name of 
Doris Scott. She holds the clew; or rather she is 
the clew to this second O. B." 

" Another woman ! " 

"No, a child; well, I won't say child exactly; 
she must be sixteen." 

" Doris Scott." 

" She lives in Derby. Derby is a small place. 
You will have no trouble in finding this child. It 
was to her Miss Challoner's last letter was ad- 
dressed. The one " 

" I begin to see." 

" No, you don't, Sweetwater. The affair is as 
blind as your hat; nobody sees. We're just feeling 
along a thread. O. B.'s letters the real O. B., I 
mean, are the manliest effusions possible. He's no 
more of a milksop than this Brotherson; and unlike 
your indomitable friend he seems to have some heart. 
I only wish he'd given us some facts ; they would have 
been serviceable. But the letters reveal nothing ex- 
cept that he knew Doris. He writes in one of them : 
' Doris is learning to embroider. It's like a fairy 
weaving a cobweb! 9 Doris isn't a very common 
name. She must be the same little girl to whom 
Miss Challoner wrote from time to time." 

" Was this letter signed O. B.? " 

" Yes; they all are. The only difference between 
his letters and Brotherson's is this: Brotherson's re- 


tain the date and address; the second O. B.'s do 

" How not? Torn off, do you mean? " 

"Yes, or rather, neatly cut away; and as none 
of the envelopes were kept, the only means by which 
we can locate the writer is through this girl Doris." 

" If I remember rightly Miss Challoner's letter 
to this child was free from all mystery." 

" Quite so. It is as open as the day. That is 
why it has been mentioned as showing the freedom 
of Miss Challoner's mind five minutes before that 
fatal thrust." 

Sweetwater took up the sheet Mr. Gryce pushed 
towards him and re-read these lines: 

"Dear Little Doris: 

"It is a snowy night, but it is all bright inside and I 
feel no chill in mind or body. I hope it is so in the little 
cottage in Derby ; that my little friend is as happy with harsh 
winds blowing from the mountains as she was on the sum- 
mer day she came to see me at this hotel. I like to think 
of her as cheerful and beaming, rejoicing in tasks which 
make her so womanly and sweet. She is often, often in 
my mind. 

"Affectionately your friend, 

" That to a child of sixteen ! " 

" Just so." 

" D-o-r-i-s spells something besides Doris." 
' Yet there is a Doris. Remember that O. B. 
says in one of his letters, ' Doris is learning to em- 
broider.' " 

O. B. AGAIN 201 

" Yes, I remember that." 

" So you must first find Doris." 

" Very good, sir." 

" And as Miss Challoner's letter was directed to 
Derby, Pennsylvania, you will go to Derby." 

" Yes, sir." 

" Anything more? " 

" I've been reading this letter again." 

" It's worth it." 

" The last sentence expresses a hope." 

" That has been noted." 

Sweetwater's eyes slowly rose till they rested on 
Mr. Gryce's face : " I'll cling to the thread you've 
given me. I'll work myself through the labyrinth 
before us till I reach him." 

Mr. Gryce smiled ; but there was more age, wisdom 
and sympathy for youthful enthusiasm in that smile 
than there was confidence or hope. 




" A YOUNG girl named Doris Scott? " 

The station-master looked somewhat sharply at the 
man he was addressing, and decided to give the di- 
rection asked. 

' There is but one young girl in town of that 
name," he declared, u and she lives in that little 
house you see just beyond the Works. But let me 
tell you, stranger," he went on with some precipita- 

But here he was called off, and Sweetwater lost 
the conclusion of his warning, if warning it was 
meant to be. This did not trouble the detective. 
He stood a moment, taking in the prospect; decided 
that the Works and the Works alone made the town, 
and started for the house which had been pointed 
out to him. His way lay through the chief business 
street, and greatly preoccupied by his errand, he 
gave but a passing glance to the rows on rows of 
workmen's dwellings stretching away to the left in 
seemingly endless perspective. Yet in that glance 
he certainly took in the fact that the sidewalks were 
blocked with people and wondered if it were a holi- 
day. If so, it must be an enforced one, for the 
faces showed little joy. Possibly a strike was on. 
The anxiety he everywhere saw pictured on young 
faces and old, argued some trouble; but if the trouble 



Was that, why were all heads turned indifferently 
from the Works, and why were the Works them- 
selves in full blast ? 

These questions he may have asked himself 
and he may not. His attention was entirely centred 
on the house he saw before him and on the possible 
developments awaiting him there. Nothing else 
mattered. Briskly he stepped out along the sandy 
road, and after a turn cr two which led him quite 
away from the Works and its surrounding buildings, 
he came out upon the highway and this house. 

It was a low and unpretentious one, and had but 
one distinguishing feature. The porch which hung 
well over the doorstep was unique in shape and gave 
an air of picturesqueness to an otherwise simple ex- 
terior; a picturesqueness which was much enhanced 
in its effect by the background of illimitable forest, 
which united the foreground of this pleasing picture 
with the great chain of hills which held the Works 
and town in its ample basin. 

As he approached the doorstep, his mind involun- 
tarily formed an anticipatory image of the child 
whose first stitches in embroidery were like a fairy's 
weaving to the strong man who worked in ore and 
possibly figured out bridges. That she would prove 
to be of the anemic type, common among working 
girls gifted with an imagination they have but scant 
opportunity to exercise, he had little doubt. 

He was therefore greatly taken aback, when at 
his first step upon the porch, the door before him flew 
open and he beheld in the dark recess beyond a young 
woman of such bright and blooming beauty that he 

DORIS 207 

hardly noticed her expression of extreme anxiety, till 
she lifted her hand and laid an admonitory finger 
softly on her lip : 

" Hush ! " she whispered, with an earnestness 
which roused him from his absorption and restored 
him to the full meaning of this encounter. " There 
is sickness in the house and we are very anxious. Is 
your errand an important one? If not " The 
faltering break in the fresh, young voice, the look 
she cast behind her into the darkened interior, were 
eloquent with the hope that he would recognise her 
impatience and pass on. 

And so he might have done, so he would have 
done under all ordinary circumstances. But if this 
was Doris and he did not doubt the fact after that 
first moment of startled surprise how dare he fore- 
go this opportunity of settling the question which 
had brought him here. 

With a slight stammer but otherwise giving no 
evidence of the effect made upon him by the pas- 
sionate intensity with which she had urged this plea, 
he assured her that his errand was important, but 
one so quickly told that it would delay her but a 
moment. " But first," said he, with very natural 
caution, " let me make sure that it is to Miss Doris 
Scott I am speaking. My errand is to her and her 

Without showing any surprise, perhaps too en- 
grossed in her own thoughts to feel any, she an- 
swered with simple directness, " Yes, I am Doris 
Scott." Whereupon he became his most persuasive 
self, and pulling out a folded paper from his 


pocket, opened it and held it before her, with these 
words : 

" Then will you be so good as to glance at this 
letter and tell me if the person whose initials you 
will find at the bottom happens to be in town at the 
present moment?" 

In some astonishment now, she glanced down at 
the sheet thus boldly thrust before her, and recog- 
nising the O and the B of a well-known signature, 
she flashed a look back at Sweetwater in which he 
read a confusion of emotions for which he was hardly 

" Ah," thought he, " it's coming. In another mo- 
ment I shall hear what will repay me for the trials 
and disappointments of all these months." 

But the moment passed and he had heard nothing. 
Instead, she dropped her hands from the door-jamb 
and gave such unmistakable evidences of intended 
flight, that but one alternative remained to him; he 
became abrupt. 

Thrusting the paper still nearer, he said, with an 
emphasis which could not fail of making an impres- 
sion, " Read it. Read the whole letter. You will 
find your name there. This communication was ad- 
dressed to Miss Challoner, but " 

Oh, now she found words 1 With a low cry, she 
put out her hand in quick entreaty, begging him to 
desist and not speak that name on any pretext or for 
any purpose. " He may rouse and hear," she ex- 
plained, with another quick look behind her. " The 
doctor says that this is the critical day. He may be- 

DORIS 209 

come conscious any minute. If he should and were 
to hear that name, it might kill him." 

" He !*" Sweetwater perked up his ears. " Who 
do you mean by he? " 

" Mr. Brotherson, my patient, he whose letter " 
But here her impatience rose above every other con- 
sideration. Without attempting to finish her sen- 
tence, or yielding in the least to her curiosity or in- 
terest in this man's errand, she cried out with 
smothered intensity, " Go ! go 1 I cannot stay an- 
other moment from his bedside." 

But a thunderbolt could not have moved Sweet- 
water after the hearing of that name. " Mr. 
Brotherson!" he echoed. "Brotherson! Not Or- 

" No, no; his name is Oswald. He's the manager 
of these Works. He's sick with typhoid. We are 
caring for him. If you belonged here you would 
know that much. There! that's his voice you hear. 
Go, if you have any mercy." And she began to push 
to the door. 

But Sweetwater was impervious to all hint. With 
eager eyes straining into the shadowy depths just visi- 
ble over her shoulder, he listened eagerly for the dis- 
jointed words now plainly to be heard in some near-by 
but unseen chamber. 

" The second O. B. ! " he inwardly declared. 
"And he's a Brotherson also, and sick! Miss 
Scott," he whisperingly entreated as her hand fell in 
manifest despair from the door, " don't send me 
away yet. I've a question of the greatest importance 


to put you, and one minute more cannot make any 
difference to him. Listen! those cries are the cries 
of delirium; he cannot miss you; he's not even con- 

" He's calling out in his sleep. He's calling her, 
just as he has called for the last two weeks. But 
he will wake conscious or he will not wake at 

The anguish trembling in that latter phrase would 
have attracted Sweetwater's earnest, if not pitiful, 
attention at any other time, but now he had ears only 
for the cry which at that moment came ringing 
shrilly from within 

"Edith! Edith!" 

The living shouting for the dead! A heart still 
warm sending forth its longing to the pierced and 
pulseless one, hidden in a far-off tomb ! To Sweet- 
water, who had seen Miss Challoner buried, this 
summons of distracted love came with weird force. 

Then the present regained its sway. He heard 
her name again, and this time it sounded less like a 
call and more like the welcoming cry of meeting 
spirits. Was death to end this separation? Had he 
found the true O. B., only to behold another and 
final seal fall upon this closely folded mystery? In 
his fear of this possibility, he caught at Doris' hand 
as she was about to bound away, and eagerly asked: 

; ' When was Mr. Brotherson taken ill? Tell me, 
I entreat you; the exact day and, if you can, the exact 
hour. More depends upon this than you can readily 

She wrenched her hand from his, panting with im- 

DORIS 211 

patience and a vague alarm. But she answered him 

" On the Twenty-fifth of last month, just an hour 
after he was made manager. He fell in a faint at 
the Works." 

The day the very day of Miss Challoner's 
death 1 

" Had he heard did you tell him then or after- 
wards what happened in New York on that very 

" No, no, we have not told him. It would have 
killed him and may yet." 

" Edith ! Edith 1 " came again through the hush, 
a hush so deep that Sweetwater received the impres- 
sion that the house was empty save for patient and 

This discovery had its effects upon him. Why 
should he subject this young and loving girl to further 
pain? He had already learned more than he had 
expected to. The rest would come with time. But 
at the first intimation he gave of leaving, she lost 
her abstracted air and turned with absolute eager- 
ness towards him. 

" One moment," said she. " You are a stranger 
and I do not know your name or your purpose here. 
But I cannot let you go without begging you not to 
mention to any one in this town that Mr. Brotherson 
has any interest in the lady whose name we must 
not speak. Do not repeat that delirious cry you have 
heard or betray in any way our intense and fearful 
interest in this young lady's strange death. You 
have shown me a letter. Do not speak of that let- 


ter, I entreat you. Help us to retain our secret a lit- 
tle longer. Only the doctor and myself know what 
awaits Mr. Brotherson if he lives. I had to tell the 
doctor, but a doctor reveals nothing. Promise that 
you will not either, at least till this crisis is passed. 
It will help my father and it will help me; and we 
need all the help we can get." 

Sweetwater allowed himself one minute of thought, 
then he earnestly replied: 

" I will keep your secret for to-day, and longer, if 

" Thank you," she cried; " thank you. I thought 
I saw kindness in your face." And she again pre- 
pared to close the door. 

But Sweetwater had one more question to ask. 
" Pardon me," said he, as he stepped down on the 
walk, " you say that this is a critical day with your 
patient. Is that why every one whom I have seen so 
far wears such a look of anxiety?" 

' Yes, yes," she cried, giving him one other 
glimpse of her lovely, agitated face. " There's but 
one feeling in town to-day, but one hope, and, as I 
believe, but one prayer. That the man whom every 
one loves and every one trusts may live to run these 

"Edith! Edith!" rose in ceaseless reiteration 
from within. 

But it rang but faintly now in the ears of our de- 
tective. The door had fallen to, and Sweetwater's 
share in the anxieties of that household was over. 

Slowly he moved away. He was in a confused 
yet elated condition of mind. Here was food for a 

DORIS 213 

thousand new thoughts and conjectures. An Or- 
lando Brotherson and an Oswald Brotherson 
relatives possibly, strangers possibly ; but whether rel- 
atives or strangers, both given to signing their letters 
with their initials simply; and both the acknowledged 
admirers of the deceased Miss Challoner. But she 
had loved only one, and that one, Oswald. It was 
not difficult to recognise the object of this high- 
hearted woman's affections in this man whose struggle 
with the master-destroyer had awakened the solicitude 
of a whole town. 



TEN minutes after Sweetwater's arrival in the vil- 
lage streets, he was at home with the people he found 
there. His conversation with Doris in the doorway 
of her home had been observed by the curious and 
far-sighted, and the questions asked and answered 
had made him friends at once. Of course, he could 
tell them nothing, but that did not matter, he had 
seen and talked with Doris and their idolised young 
manager was no worse and might possibly soon be 

Of his own affairs of his business with Doris 
and the manager, they asked nothing. All ordinary 
interests were lost in the stress of their great suspense. 

It was the same in the bar-room of the one hotel. 
Without resorting to more than a question or two, 
he readily learned all that was generally known of 
Oswald Brotherson. Every one was talking about 
him, and each had some story to tell illustrative of 
his kindness, his courage and his quick mind. The 
Works had never produced a man of such varied 
capabilities and all round sympathies. To have him 
for manager meant the greatest good which could be- 
fall this little community. 

His rise had been rapid. He had come from the 
east three years before, new to the work. Now, he 
was the one man there. Of his relationships east, 



family or otherwise, nothing was said. For them his 
life began and ended in Derby, and Sweetwater could 
see, though no actual expression was given to the feel- 
ing, that there was but one expectation in regard to 
him and Doris, to whose uncommon beauty and 
sweetness they all seemed fully alive. And Sweet- 
water wondered, as many of us have wondered, at the 
gulf frequently existing between fancy and fact. 

Later there came a small excitement. The doctor 
was seen riding by on his way to the sick man. 
From the window where he sat, Sweetwater watched 
him pass up the street and take the road he had him- 
self so lately traversed. It was so straight a one 
and led so directly northward that he could follow 
with his eye the doctor's whole course, and even get a 
glimpse of his figure as he stepped from the buggy 
and proceeded to tie up the horse. There was an 
energy about him pleasing to Sweetwater. He might 
have much to do with this doctor. If Oswald 
Brotherson died but he was not willing to consider 
this possibility yet. His personal sympathies, to 
say nothing of his professional interest in the mystery 
to which this man and this man only possibly 
held the key, alike forbade. He would hope, as 
these others were hoping, and if he did not count the 
minutes, he at least saw every move of the old horse 
waiting with drooping head and the resignation of 
long custom for the re-appearance of his master with 
his news of life or death. 

And so an hour two hours passed. Others 
were watching the old horse now. The street 
showed many an eager figure with head turned north- 


ward. From the open door-ways women stepped, 
looked in the direction of their anxiety and retreated 
to their work again. Suspense was everywhere; the 
moments dragged like hours; it became so keen at last 
that some impatient hearts could no longer stand it. 
A woman put her baby into another woman's arms 
and hurried up the road; another followed, then an- 
other ; then an old man, bowed with years and of tot- 
tering steps, began to go that way, halting a dozen 
times before he reached the group now collected in 
the dusty highway, near but not too near that house. 
As Sweetwater's own enthusiasm swelled at this sight, 
he thought of the other Brotherson with his theories 
and active advocacy for reform, and wondered if 
men and women would forego their meals and stand 
for hours in the keen spring wind just to be the first 
to hear if he were to live or die. He knew that he 
himself would not. But he had suffered much both 
in his pride and his purse at the hands of the Brook- 
lyn inventor; and such despoliation is not a reliable 
basis for sympathy. He was questioning his own 
judgment in this matter and losing himself in the 
mazes of past doubts and conjectures when a sudden 
change took place in the aspect of the street; he saw 
people running, and in another moment saw why. 
The doctor had shown himself on the porch which 
all were watching. Was he coming out? No, he 
stands quite still, runs his eye over the people waiting 
quietly in the road, and beckons to one of the smaller 
boys. The child, with upturned face, stands listening 
to what he has to say, then starts on a run for the 
village. He is stopped, pulled about, questioned, 


and allowed to run on. Many rush forth to meet 
him. He is panting, but gleeful. Mr. Brotherson 
has waked up conscious, and the doctor says, He 
will live. 



THAT night Dr. Fenton had a visitor. We know 
that visitor and we almost know what his questions 
were, if not the answers of the good doctor. Never- 
theless, it may be better to listen to a part at least 
of their conversation. 

Sweetwater, who knew when to be frank and open, 
as well as when to be reserved and ambiguous, made 
no effort to disguise the nature of his business or his 
chief cause of interest in Oswald Brotherson. The 
eye which met his was too penetrating not to detect 
the smallest attempt at subterfuge; besides, Sweet- 
water had no need to hide his errand; it was one of 
peace, and it threatened nobody " the more's the 
pity," thought he in uneasy comment to himself, as 
he realised the hopelessness of the whole situation. 

His first word, therefore, was a plain announce- 

" Dr. Fenton, my name is Sweetwater. I am 
from New York, and represent for the nonce, Mr. 
Challoner, whose name I have simply to mention, 
for you to understand that my business is with Mr. 
Brotherson whom I am sorry to find seriously, if not 
dangerously, ill. Will you tell me how long you 
think it will be before I can have a talk with him on a 
subject which I will not disguise from you may prove 
a very exciting one?" 



'* Weeks, weeks," returned the doctor. " Mr. 
Brotherson has been a very sick man and the only 
hope I have of his recovery is the fact that he is igno- 
rant of his trouble or that he has any cause for doubt 
or dread. Were this happy condition of things to 
be disturbed, were the faintest rumour of sorrow 
or disaster to reach him in his present weakened state, 
I should fear a relapse, with all its attendant dangers. 
What then, if any intimation should be given him of 
the horrible tragedy suggested by the name you have 
mentioned? The man would die before your eyes. 
Mr. Challoner's business will have to wait." 

'That I see; but if I knew when I might 
speak " 

" I can give you no date. Typhoid is a treacher- 
ous complaint; he has the best of nurses and the 
chances are in favour of a quick recovery; but we 
never can be sure. You had better return to New 
York. Later, you can write me if you wish, or Mr. 
Challoner can. You may have confidence in my re- 
ply; it will not mislead you." 

Sweetwater muttered his thanks and rose. Then 
he slowly sat down again. 

" Dr. Fenton," he began, " you are a man to be 
trusted. I'm in a devil of a fix, and there is just a 
possibility that you may be able to help me out. It 
is the general opinion in New York, as you may know, 
that Miss Challoner committed suicide. But the cir- 
cumstances do not fully bear out this theory, nor can 
Mr. Challoner be made to accept it. Indeed, he is so 
convinced of its falsehood, that he stands ready to do 
anything, pay anything, suffer anything, to have this 


distressing blight removed from his daughter's good 
name. Mr. Brotherson was her dearest friend, and 
as such may have the clew to this mystery, but Mr. 
Brotherson may not be in a condition to speak for 
several weeks. Meanwhile, Mr. Challoner must suf- 
fer from great suspense unless " a pause during 
which he searched the doctor's face with a perfectly 
frank and inquiring expression " unless some one 
else can help us out. Dr. Fenton, can you? " 

The doctor did not need to speak; his expression 
conveyed his answer. 

" No more than another," said he. " Except for 
what Doris felt compelled to tell me, I know as little 
as yourself. Mr. Brotherson's delirium took the 
form of calling continually upon one name. I did 
not know this name, but Doris did, also the danger 
lurking in the fact that he had yet to hear of the 
tragedy which had robbed him of this woman to 
whom he was so deeply attached. So she told me 
just this much. That the Edith whose name rung so 
continuously in our ears was no other than the Miss 
Challoner of New York of whose death and its tragic 
circumstances the papers have been full ; that their en- 
gagement was a secret one unshared so far as she 
knew by any one but herself. That she begged me 
to preserve this secret and to give her all the help I 
could when the time came for him to ask questions. 
Especially did she entreat me to be with her at the 
crisis. I was, but his waking was quite natural. He 
did not ask for Miss Challoner; he only inquired how 
long he had been ill and whether Doris had received 
a letter during that time. She had not received one, 


a fact which seemed to disappoint him; but she car- 
ried it off so gaily (she is a wonderful girl, Mr. 
Sweetwater the darling of all our hearts), saying 
that he must not be so egotistical as to think that the 
news of his illness had gone beyond Derby, that he 
soon recovered his spirits and became a very promis- 
ing convalescent. That is all I know about the mat- 
ter; little more, I take it, than you know yourself." 

Sweetwater nodded ; he had expected nothing from 
the doctor, and was not disappointed at his failure. 
There were two strings to his bow, and the one prov- 
ing valueless, he proceeded to test the other. 

" You have mentioned Miss Scott, as the confidante 
and only confidante of this unhappy pair," said he. 
" Would it be possible can you make it possible 
for me to see her? " 

It was a daring proposition ; he understood this at 
once from the doctor's expression; and, fearing a 
hasty rebuff, he proceeded to supplement his request 
with a few added arguments, urged with such unex- 
pected address and show of reason that Dr. Fenton's 
aspect visibly softened and in the end he found him- 
self ready to promise that he would do what he could 
to secure his visitor the interview he desired if he 
would come to the house the next day at the time of 
his own morning visit. 

This was as much as the young detective could ex- 
pect, and having expressed his thanks, he took his 
leave in anything but a discontented frame of mind. 
With so powerful an advocate as the doctor, he felt 
confident that he should soon be able to conquer this 
young girl's reticence and learn all that was to be 


learned from any one but Mr. Brotherson himself. 
In the time which must elapse between that happy 
hour and the present, he would circulate and learn 
what he could about the prospective manager. But 
he soon found that he could not enter the Works 
without a permit, and this he was hardly in a position 
to demand; so he strolled about the village instead, 
and later wandered away into the forest. 

Struck by the inviting aspect of a narrow and little 
used road opening from the highway shortly above 
the house where his interests were just then centred, he 
strolled into the heart of the spring woods till he came 
to a depression where a surprise awaited him, in the 
shape of a peculiar structure rising from its midst 
where it just fitted, or so nearly fitted that one could 
hardly walk about it without brushing the surround- 
ing tree trunks. Of an oval shape, with its door 
facing the approach, it nestled there, a wonder to the 
eye and the occasion of considerable speculation to 
his inquiring mind. It had not been long built, as 
was shown very plainly by the fresh appearance of 
the unpainted boards of which it was constructed; 
and while it boasted of a door, as I've already said, 
there were no evidences visible of any other break in 
the smooth, neatly finished walls. A wooden ellipse 
with a roof but no windows; such it appeared and 
such it proved to be. A mystery to Sweetwater's 
eyes, and like all mysteries, interesting. For what 
purpose had it been built and why this isolation ? It 
was too flimsy for a reservoir and too expensive for 
the wild freak of a crank. 

A nearer view increased his curiosity. In the pro- 


jection of the roof over the curving sides he found 
fresh food for inquiry. As he examined it in the 
walk he made around the whole structure, he came 
to a place where something like a hinge became vis- 
ible and further on another. The roof was not sim- 
ply a roof; it was also a lid capable of being raised 
for the air and light which the lack of windows ne- 
cessitated. This was an odd discovery indeed, giv- 
ing to the uncanny structure the appearance of a huge 
box, the cover of which could be raised or lowered at 
pleasure. And again he asked himself for what it 
could be intended? What enterprise, even of the 
great Works, could demand a secrecy so absolute 
that such pains as these should be taken to shut out 
all possibility of a prying eye. Nothing in his ex- 
perience supplied him with an answer. 

He was still looking up at these hinges, with a 
glance which took in at the same time the nearness 
and extreme height of the trees by which this sylvan 
mystery was surrounded, when a sound from the road 
on the opposite side of the hollow brought his con- 
jectures to a standstill and sent him hurrying on to 
the nearest point from which that road became vis- 

A team was approaching. He could hear the 
heavy tread of horses working their laborious way 
through trees whose obstructing branches swished be- 
fore and behind them. They were bringing in a load 
for this shed, whose uses he would consequently soon 
understand. Grateful for his good luck for his 
was a curiosity which could not stand defeat he 
took a few steps into the wood, and from the vantage 


point of a concealing cluster of bushes, fixed his eyes 
upon the spot where the road opened into the hollow. 

Something blue moved there, and in another mo- 
ment, to his great amazement, there stepped into view 
the spirited form of Doris Scott, who if he had given 
the matter a thought he would have supposed to be 
sitting just then by the bedside of her patient, a half 
mile back on the road. 

She was dressed for the woods in a blue skirt and 
jacket and moved like a leader in front of a heavily 
laden wagon now coming to a standstill before the 
closely shut shed if such we may call it. 

" I have a key," so she called out to the driver 
who had paused for orders. " When I swing the 
doors wide, drive straight in." 

Sweetwater took a look at the wagon. It was 
piled high with large wooden boxes on more than 
one of which he could see scrawled the words: O. 
Brotherson, Derby, Pa. 

This explained her presence, but the boxes told 
nothing. They were of all sizes and shapes, and 
some of them so large that the assistance of another 
man was needed to handle them. Sweetwater was 
about to offer his services when a second man ap- 
peared from somewhere in the rear, and the detec- 
tive's attention being thus released from the load out 
of which he could make nothing, he allowed it to con- 
centrate upon the young girl who had it in charge 
and who, for many reasons, was the one person of 
supreme importance to him. 

She had swung open the two wide doors, and now 
stood waiting for horse and wagon to enter. With 


locks flying free she wore no bonnet she pre- 
sented a picture of ever increasing interest to Sweet- 
water. Truly she was a very beautiful girl, buoy- 
ant, healthy and sweet; as unlike as possible his 
preconceived notions of Miss Challoner's humble lit- 
tle protegee. Her brown hair of a rich chestnut hue, 
was in itself a wonder. On no head, even in the 
great city he had just left, had he seen such abun- 
dance, held in such modest restraint. Nature had 
been partial to this little working girl and given her 
the chevelure of a queen. 

But this was nothing. No one saw this aureole 
when once the eye had rested on her features and 
caught the full nobility of their expression and the 
lurking sweetness underlying her every look. She 
herself made the charm and whether placed high or 
placed low, must ever attract the eye and afterwards 
lure the heart, by an individuality which hardly 
needed perfect features in which to express itself. 

Young yet, but gifted, as girls of her class often 
are, with the nicest instincts and purest aspirations, 
she showed the elevation of her thoughts both in her 
glance and the poise with which she awaited events. 
Swcetwater watched her with admiration as she su- 
perintended the unloading of the wagon and the dis- 
posal of the various boxes on the floor within; but as 
nothing she said during the process was calculated to 
afford the least enlightenment in regard to their 
contents, he presently wearied of his inaction and 
turned back towards the highway, comforting him- 
self with the reflection that in a few short hours he 
would have her to himself when nothing but a blun- 


der on his part should hinder him from sounding her 
young mind and getting such answers to his questions 
as the affair in which he was so deeply interested, de- 



" You see me again, Miss Scott. I hope that yes- 
terday's intrusion has not prejudiced you against me." 

" I have no prejudices," was her simple but firm 
reply. " I am only hurried and very anxious. The 
doctor is with Mr. Brotherson just now; but he has 
several other equally sick patients to visit and I dare 
not keep him here too long." 

; ' Then you will welcome my abruptness. Miss 
Scott, here is a letter from Mr. Challoner. It will 
explain my position. As you will see, his only desire 
is to establish the fact that his daughter did not com- 
mit suicide. She was all he had in the world, and 
the thought that she could, for any reason, take her 
own life is unbearable to him. Indeed, he will not 
believe she did so, evidence or no evidence. May I 
ask if you agree with him? You have seen Miss 
Challoner, I believe. Do you think she was the 
woman to plunge a dagger in her heart in a place as 
public as a hotel reception room ? " 

" No, Mr. Sweetwater. I'm a poor working girl, 
with very little education and almost no knowledge 
of the world and such ladies as she. But something 
tells me for all that, that she was too nice to do this. 
I saw her once and it made me want to be quiet and 
kind and beautiful like her. I never shall think she 
did anything so horrible. Nor will Mr. Brotherson 



ever believe it. He could not and live. You see, I 
am talking to you as if you knew him, the kind of 
man he is and just how he feels towards Miss Chal- 
loner. He is " Her voice trailed off and a look, 
uncommon and almost elevated, illumined her face. 
" I will not tell you what he is; you will know, if you 
ever see him." 

" If the favourable opinion of a whole town makes 
a good fellow, he ought to be of the best," returned 
Sweetwater, with his most honest smile. " I hear 
but one story of him wherever I turn." 

" There is but one story to tell," she smiled, and 
her head drooped softly, but with no air of self-con- 

Sweetwater watched her for a moment, and then 
remarked: " I'm going to take one thing for granted; 
that you are as anxious as we are to clear Miss Chal- 
loner's memory." 

" O yes, O yes." 

" More than that, that you are ready and eager to 
help us. Your very looks show that." 

" You are right; I would do anything to help you. 
But what can a girl like me do ? Nothing ; nothing. 
I know too little. Mr. Challoner must see that 
when you tell him I'm only the daughter of a fore- 

" And a friend of Mr. Brotherson," supplemented 

" Yes," she smiled, " he would want me to say so. 
But that's his goodness. I don't deserve the hon- 

" His friend and therefore his confidante," Sweet- 


water continued. " He has talked to you about Miss 

" He had to. There was nobody else to whom he 
could talk ; and then, I had seen her and could under- 

' Where did you see her ? " 

" In New York. I was there once with father, 
who took me to see her. I think she had asked Mr. 
Brotherson to send his little friend to her hotel if 
ever we came to New York.'* 

" That was some time ago? " 

" We were there in June." 

" And you have corresponded ever since with Miss 

" She has been good enough to write, and I have 
ventured at times to answer her." 

The suspicion which might have come to some 
men found no harbour in Sweetwater's mind. This 
young girl was beautiful, there was no denying that, 
beautiful in a somewhat startling and quite unusual 
way ; but there was nothing in her bearing, nothing in 
Miss Challoner's letters to indicate that she had been 
a cause for jealousy in the New York lady's mind. 
He, therefore, ignored this possibility, pursuing his 
inquiry along the direct lines he had already laid out 
for himself. Smiling a little, but in a very earnest 
fashion, he pointed to the letter she still held and 
quietly said: 

" Remember that I'm not speaking for myself, 
Miss Scott, when I seem a little too persistent and in- 
quiring. You have corresponded with Miss Chal- 
loner; you have been told the fact of her secret en- 


gagement to Mr. Brotherson and you have been 
witness to his conduct and manner for the whole time 
he has been separated from her. Do you, when you 
think of it carefully, recall anything in the whole 
story of this romance which would throw light upon 
the cruel tragedy which has so unexpectedly ended it ? 
Anything, Miss Scott? Straws show which way the 
stream flows." 

She was vehement, instantly vehement, in her dis- 

" I can answer at once," said she, " because I have 
thought of nothing else for all these weeks. Here all 
was well. Mr. Brotherson was hopeful and happy 
and believed in her happiness and willingness to wait 
for his success. And this success was coming so fast ! 
Oh, how can we ever tell him ! How can we ever 
answer his questions even, or keep him satisfied and 
calm until he is strong enough to hear the truth. I've 
had to acknowledge already that I have had no letter 
from her for weeks. She never wrote to him di- 
rectly, you know, and she never sent him messages, 
but he knew that a letter to me, was also a letter to 
him and I can see that he is troubled by this long 
silence, though he says I was right not to let her 
know of his illness and that I must continue to keep 
her in ignorance of it till he is quite well again and 
can write to her himself. It is hard to hear him talk 
like this and not look sad or frightened." 

Sweetwater remembered Miss Challoner's last let- 
ter, and wished he had it here to give her. In default 
of this, he said : 

" Perhaps this not hearing may act in the way of 


a preparation for the shock which must come to him 
sooner or later. Let us hope so, Miss Scott." 

Her eyes filled. 

" Nothing can prepare him," said she. Then 
added, with a yearning accent, " I wish I were older 
or had more^experience. I should not feel so help- 
less. But the gratitude I owe him will give me 
strength when I need it most. Only I wish the suf- 
fering might be mine rather than his." 

Unconscious of any self-betrayal, she lifted her 
eyes, startling Sweetwatcr by the beauty of her look. 

" I don't think I'm so sorry for Oswald Brother- 
son," he murmured to himself as he left her. " He's 
a more fortunate man than he knows, however deeply 
he may feel the loss of his first sweetheart." 

That evening the disappointed Sweetwater took 
the train for New York. He had failed to advance 
the case in hand one whit, yet the countenance he 
showed Mr. Gryce at their first interview was not 
a wholly gloomy one. 

" Fifty dollars to the bad ! " was his first laconic 
greeting. " All I have learned is comprised in these 
two statements. The second O. B. is a fine fellow; 
and not intentionally the cause of our tragedy. He 
does not even know about it. He's down with the 
fever at present and they haven't told him. When 
he's better we may hear something; but I doubt even 

" Tell me about it." 

Sweetwater complied; and such is the unconscious- 
ness with which we often encounter the pivotal cir- 
cumstance upon which our future or the future of 


our most cherished undertaking hangs, he omitted 
from his story, the sole discovery which was of any 
real importance in the unravelling of the mystery in 
which they were so deeply concerned. He said noth- 
ing of his walk in the woods or of what he saw there. 

" A meagre haul," he remarked at the close. 
" But that's as it should be, if you and I are right in 
our impressions and the clew to this mystery lies here 
in the character and daring of Orlando Brotherson. 
That's why I'm not down in the mouth. Which 
goes to show what a grip my prejudices have on me." 

u As prejudiced as a bulldog." 

" Exactly. By the way, what news of the gentle- 
man I've just mentioned? Is he as serene in my ab- 
sence as when under my eye? " 

" More so; he looks like a man on the verge of 
triumph. But I fear the triumph he anticipates has 
nothing to do with our affairs. All his time and 
thought is taken up with his invention." 

" You discourage me, sir. And now to see Mr. 
Challoner. Small comfort can I carry him." 



IN the comfortable little sitting-room of the Scott 
cottage Doris stood, looking eagerly from the win- 
dow which gave upon the road. Behind her, on the 
other side of the room, could be seen through a partly 
opened door, a neatly spread bed, with a hand lying 
quietly on the patched coverlid. It was a strong 
looking hand which, even when quiescent, conveyed 
the idea of purpose and vitality. As Doris said, the 
fingers never curled up languidly, but always with the 
hint of a clench. Several weeks had passed since the 
departure of Sweetwater and the invalid was fast 
gaining strength. To-morrow, he would be up. 

Was Doris thinking of him? Undoubtedly, for 
her eyes often flashed his way; but her main attention 
was fixed upon the road, though no one was in sight 
at the moment. Some one had passed for whose re- 
turn she looked; some one whom, if she had been 
asked to describe, she would have called a tall, fine- 
looking man of middle age, of a cultivated appear- 
ance seldom seen in this small manufacturing town; 
seldom seen, possibly, in any town. He had glanced 
up at the window as he went by, in a manner too 
marked not to excite her curiosity. Would he look 
up again when he came back? She was waiting there 
to see. Why, she did not know. She was not used 
to indulging in petty suppositions of this kind; her 



life was too busy, her anxieties too keen. The great 
dread looming ever before her, the dread of that 
hour when she must speak, left her very little heart 
for anything dissociated with this coming event. 
For a girl of seventeen she was unusually thoughtful. 
Life had been hard in this little cottage since her 
mother died, or rather she had felt its responsibil- 
ities keenly. 

Life itself could not be hard where Oswald Broth- 
erson lived ; neither to man, nor woman. The cheer 
of some natures possesses a divine faculty. If it can 
help no other way, it does so by the aid of its own 
light. Such was the character of this man's temper- 
ament. The cottage was a happy place; only 
she never fathomed the depths of that only. If in 
these days she essayed at times to do so, she gave full 
credit to the Dread which rose ever before her 
rose like a ghost! She, Doris, led by inscrutable 
Fate, was waiting to hurt him who hurt nobody; 
whose mere presence was a blessing. 

But her interest had been caught to-day, caught by 
this stranger, and when during her eager watch the 
small messenger from the Works came to the door 
with the usual daily supply of books and magazines 
for the patient, she stepped out on the porch to speak 
to him and to point out the gentleman who was now 
rapidly returning from his stroll up the road. 

' Who is that, Johnny? " she asked. " You know 
everybody who comes to -town. What is the name 
of the gentleman you see coming? " 

The boy looked, searched his memory, not without 
some show of misgiving. 


" A queer name," he admitted at last. " I never 
heard the likes of it here before. Shally something. 
Shally Shally " 


1 Yes, that's it. How could you guess? He's 
from New York. Nobody knows why he's here. 
Don't seem to have no business." 

' Well, never mind. Run on, Johnny. And 
don't forget to come earlier to-morrow; Mr. Broth- 
erson gets tired waiting." 

" Does he? I'll come quick then; quick as I can 
run." And he sped off at a pace which promised well 
for the morrow. 

Challoner! There was but one Challoner in the 
world for Doris Scott, Edith's father. Was this 
he ? It must be, or why this haunting sense of some- 
thing half remembered as she caught a glimpse of 
his face. Edith's father! and he was approaching, 
approaching rapidly, on his way back to town. 
Would he stop this time? As the possibility struck 
her, she trembled and drew back, entering the house, 
but pausing in the hall with her ear turned to the 
road. She had not closed the door; something 
within a hope or a dread had prevented that. 
Would he take it as an invitation to come in? No, 
no; she was not ready for such an encounter yet. 
He might speak Edith's name; Oswald might hear 
and with a gasp she recognised the closeness of 
his step ; heard it lag, almost halt just where the path 
to the house ran into the roadside. But it passed 
on. He was not going to force an interview yet. 
She could hear him retreating further and further 


away. The event was not for this day, thank God! 
She would have one night at least in which to prepare 

With a sense of relief so great that she realised, 
for one shocked moment, the full extent of her fears, 
she hastened back into the sitting-room, with her col- 
lection of books and pamphlets. A low voice 
greeted her. It came from the adjoining room. 

" Doris, come here, sweet child. I want you." 

How she would have bounded joyously at the 
summons, had not that Dread raised its bony finger 
in every call from that dearly loved voice. As it 
was, her feet moved slowly, lingering at the sound. 
But they carried her to his side at last, and once there, 
she smiled. 

" See what an armful," she cried in joyous greet- 
ing, as she held out the bundle she had brought. 
' You will be amused all day. Only, do not tire 

" I do not want the papers, Doris; not yet. 
There's something else which must come first. 
Doris, I have decided to let you write to her. I'm 
so much better now, she will not feel alarmed. I 
must must get a word from her. I'm starving 
for it. I lie here and can think of nothing else. A 
message one little message of six short words 
would set me on my feet again. So get your paper 
and pen, dear child, and write her one of your pret- 
tiest letters." 

Had he loved her, he would have perceived the 
chill which shook her whole body, as he spoke. But 


his first thought, his penetrating thought, was not 
for her and he saw only the answering glance, 
the patient smile. She had not expected him to see 
more. She knew that she was quite safe from the 
divining look; otherwise, he would have known her 
secret long ago. 

" I'm ready," said she. But she did not lay down 
her bundle. She was not ready for her task, poor 
child. She quailed before it. She quailed so much 
that she feared to stir lest he should see that she had 
no command over her movements. 

The man who watched without seeing wondered 
that she stood so still and spoke so briefly. But only 
for a moment. He thought he understood her hes- 
itation, and a look of great earnestness replaced his 
former one of grave decision. 

" I know that in doing this I am going beyond my 
sacred compact with Miss Challoner," he said. " I 
never thought of illness, at least, of illness on my 
part. I never dreamt that I, always so well, always 
so full of life, could know such feebleness as this, 
feebleness which is all of the body, Doris, leaving the 
mind free to dream and long. Talk of her, child. 
Tell me all over again just how she looked and spoke 
that day you saw her in New York." 

" Would it not be better for me to write my letter 
first? Papa will be coming soon and Truda can 
never cook your bird as you like it." 

Surprised now by something not quite natural in 
her manner, he caught at her hand and held her as 
she was moving away. 


" You are tired," said he. " I've wearied you 
with my commission and complaints. Forgive me, 
dear child, and >" 

" You are mistaken," she interrupted softly. " I 
am not tired; I only wished to do the important 
thing first. Shall I get my desk? Do you really 
wish me to write? " 

" Yes," said he, softly dropping her hand. " I 
wish you to write. It will ensure me good sleep, and 
sleep will make me strong. A few words, Doris; 
just a few words." 

She nodded; turning quickly away to hide her 
tears. His smile had gone to her very soul. It 
was always a beautiful one, his chief personal attrac- 
tion, but at this moment it seemed to concentrate 
within it the unspoken fervours and the boundless 
expectations of a great love, and she who was the 
aim and cause of all this sweetness lay in unrespon- 
sive silence in a distant tomb 1 

But Doris' own smile was not lacking in encour- 
agement and beauty when she came back a few min- 
utes later and sat down ly his side to write. His 
melted before it, leaving his eyes very earnest as he 
watched her bending figure and the hard-worked little 
hand at its unaccustomed task. 

" I must give her daily exercises," he decided 
within himself. " That look of pain shows how dif- 
ficult this work is for her. It must be made easy at 
any cost to my time. Such beauty calls for accom- 
plishment. I must not neglect so plain a duty." 

Meantime, she v/as struggling to find words in 
face of that great Dread. She had written Dear 


Miss Challoner and was staring in horror at the 
soulless words. Only her sense of duty upheld her. 
Gladly would she have torn the sheet in two and 
rushed away. How could she add sentences to this 
hollow phrase, the mere employment of which 
seemed a sacrilege. Dear Miss Challoner. Oh, 
she was dear, but 

Unconsciously the young head drooped, and the 
pen slid from her hand. 

" I cannot," she murmured, " I cannot think what 
to say." 

" Shall I help you ? " came softly from the bed. 
" I'll try and not forget that it is Doris writing." 

" If you will be so good," she answered, with re- 
newed courage. " I can put the words down if you 
will only find them for me." 

" Write then. ' Dear Miss Challoner: " 

" I have already written that." 

"Why do you shudder?" 

" I'm cold. I've been cold all day. But never 
mind that, Mr. Brotherson. Tell me how to begin 
my letter." 

" This way. ' I've not been able to answer your 
kind letter, because I have had to play nurse for 
some three or four weeks to a very fretful and ex- 
acting -patient.' Have you written that? " 

" No," said Doris, bending over her desk till her 
curls fell in a tangle over her white cheeks. " I do 
not like to," she protested at last, with an attempt at 
nai'vete which seemed real enough to him. 

" Well, leave out the fretful if you must, but keep 
in the exacting. I have been exacting, you know." 


Silence, broken only by the scratching of the stub- 
born, illy-directed pen. 

" It's down," she whispered. She said, afterward, 
that it was like writing with a ghost looking over 
one's shoulder. 

" Then add, ' Mr. Brotherson has had a slight 
attack of fever, but he is getting well fast, and will 
soon ' Do I run on too quickly? " 

" No, no, I can follow." 

" But not without losing breath; eh, Doris? " 

As he laughed, she smiled. There was a heroism 
in that smile, Oswald Brotherson, of which you knew 

" You might speak a little more slowly," she ad- 

Quietly he repeated the last phrase. " * But he is 
getting well fast and will soon be ready to take up 
the management of the Works which was given him 
just before he was taken ill.' That will show her 
that I am working up," he brightly remarked as 
Doris carefully penned the last word. " Of myself 
you need say nothing more, unless " he paused and 
his face took on a wistful look which Doris dared 
not meet; "unless but no, no, she must think it 
has been only a passing indisposition. If she knew 
I had been really ill, she would suffer, and perhaps 
act imprudently or suffer and not dare to act at all, 
which might be sadder for her still. Leave it where 
it is and begin about yourself. Write a good deal 
about yourself, so that she will see that you are not 
worried and that all is well with us here. Cannot 
you do that without assistance? Surely you can tell 


her about that last piece of embroidery you showed 
me. She will be glad to hear why, Doris ! " 

" Oh, Mr. Brotherson," the poor child burst out, 
" you must let me cry ! I'm so glad to see you better 
and interested in all sorts of things. These are not 
tears of grief. I I but I'm forgetting what 
the doctor told me. You are growing excited, and I 
was to see that you were calm, always calm. I will 
take my desk away. I will write the rest in the 
other room, while you look at the magazines." 

" But bring your letter back for me to seal. I 
want to see it in its envelope. Oh, Doris, you are a 
good little girl I " 

She shook her head, and hastened to hide herself 
from him in the other room; and it was a long time 
before she came back with the letter folded and in 
its envelope. When she did, her face was com- 
posed and her manner natural. She had quite made 
up her mind what her duty was and how she was go- 
ing to perform it. 

" Here is the letter," said she, laying it in his out- 
stretched hand. Then she turned her back. She 
knew, with a woman's unerring instinct why he 
wished to handle it before it went. She felt that kiss 
he folded away in it, in every fibre of her aroused 
and sympathetic heart, but the hardest part of the 
ordeal was over and her eyes beamed softly when 
she turned again to take it from his hand and affix the 

"You will mail it yourself?" he asked. "I 
should like to have you put it into the box with your 
own hand." 


V I will put it in to-night, after supper," she prom- 
ised him. 

His smile of contentment assured her that this 
trial of her courage and self-control was not with- 
out one blessed result. He would rest for several 
days in the pleasure of what he had done or thought 
he had done. She need not cringe before that im- 
age of Dread for two, three days at least. Mean- 
while, he would grow strong in body, and she, per- 
haps, in spirit. Only one precaution she must take. 
No hint of Mr. Challoner's presence in town must 
reach him. He must be guarded from a knowledge 
of that fact as certainly as from the more serious one 
which lay behind it. 



THAT this would be a difficult thing to do, Doris was 
soon to realise. Mr. Challoner continued to pass 
the house twice a day and the time finally came when 
he ventured up the walk. 

Doris was in the window and saw him coming. 
She slipped softly out and intercepted him before 
he had stepped upon the porch. She had caught 
up her hat as she passed through the hall, and 
was fitting it to her head as he looked up and saw 

"Miss Scott?" he asked. 

" Yes, Mr. Challoner." 

" You know me? " he went on, one foot on the 
step and one still on the walk. 

Before replying she closed the door behind her. 
Then as she noted his surprise she carefully ex- 
plained : 

" Mr. Brotherson, our boarder, is just recovering 
from typhoid. He is still weak and acutely suscep- 
tible to the least noise. I was afraid that our voices 
might disturb him. Do you mind walking a little 
way up the road ? That is, if your visit was intended 
for me." 

Her flush, the beauty which must have struck even 
him, but more than all else her youth, seemed to 
reconcile him to this unconventional request. Bow- 



ing, he took his foot from the step, saying, as she 
joined him : 

" Yes, you are the one I wanted to see; that is, 
to-day. Later, I hope to have the privilege of a 
conversation with Mr. Brotherson." 

She gave him one quick look, trembling so that he 
offered her his arm with a fatherly air. 

" I see that you understand my errand here," he 
proceeded, with a grave smile, meant as she knew 
for her encouragement. " I am glad, because we can 
go at once to the point. Miss Scott," he continued 
in a voice from which he no longer strove to keep 
back the evidences of deep feeling, " I have the 
strongest interest in your patient that one man can 
have in another, where there is no personal ac- 
quaintanceship. You who have every reason to un- 
derstand my reasons for this, will accept the state- 
ment, I hope, as frankly as it is made." 

She nodded. Her eyes were full of tears, but she 
did not hesitate to raise them. She had the greatest 
desire to see the face of the man who could speak 
like this to-day, and yet of whose pride and sense of 
superiority his daughter had stood in such awe, that 
she had laid a seal upon the impulses of her heart, 
and imposed such tasks and weary waiting upon her 
lover. Doris forgot, in meeting his softened glance 
and tender, almost wistful, expression, the changes 
which can be made by a great grief, and only won- 
dered why her sweet benefactress had not taken him 
into her confidence and thus, possibly, averted the 
doom which Doris felt had in some way grown out 
of this secrecy. 


' Why should she have feared the disapproval of 
this man? " she inwardly queried, as she cast him a 
confiding look which pleased him greatly, as his tone 
now showed. 

;< When I lost my daughter, I lost everything," he 
declared, as they walked slowly up the road. " Noth- 
ing excites my interest, save that which once excited 
hers. I am told that the deepest interest of her life 
lay here. I am also told that it was an interest 
quite worthy of her. I expect to find it so. I hope 
with all my heart to find it so, and that is why I have 
come to this town and expect to linger till Mr. Broth- 
erson has recovered sufficiently to see me. I hope 
that this will be agreeable to him. I hope that I 
am not presuming too much in cherishing these ex- 

Doris turned her candid eyes upon him. 

" I cannot tell; I do not know," said she. " No- 
body knows, not even the doctor, what effect the news 
we so dread to give him will have upon Mr. Brother- 
son. You will have to wait we all shall have to 
wait the results of that revelation. It cannot be 
kept from him much longer. When I return, I shall 
shrink from his first look, in the fear of seeing it be- 
tray this dreadful knowledge. Yet I have a faith- 
ful woman there to keep every one out of his room." 

" You have had much to carry for one so young," 
was Mr. Challoner's sympathetic remark. * You 
must let me help you when that awful moment comes. 
I am at the hotel and shall stay there till Mr. Broth- 
erson is pronounced quite well. I have no other duty 
now in life but to sustain htm through his trouble 


and then, with what aid he can give, search out and 
find the cause of my daughter's death which I will 
never admit without the fullest proof, to have been 
one of suicide." 

Doris trembled. 

" It was not suicide," she declared, vehemently. 
" I have always felt sure that it was not; but to-day 
I know." 

Her hand fell clenched on her breast and her eyes 
gleamed strangely. Mr. Challoner was himself 
greatly startled. What had happened what 
could have happened since yesterday that she should 
emphasise that now? 

" I've not told any one," she went on, as he stopped 
short in the road, in his anxiety to understand her. 
" But I will tell you. Only, not here, not with all 
these people driving past; most of whom know me. 
Come to the house later this evening, after Mr. 
Brotherson's room is closed for the night. I have 
a little sitting-room on the other side of the hall 
where we can talk without being heard. Would 
you object to doing that? Am I asking too much of 

" No, not at all," he assured her. " Expect me at 
eight. Will that be too early? " 

" No, no. Oh, how those people stared! Let us 
hasten back or they may connect your name with what 
we want kept secret." 

He smiled at her fears, but gave in to her humour ; 
he would see her soon again and possibly learn some- 
thing which would amply repay him, both for his 
trouble and his patience. 


But when evening came and she turned to face him 
in that little sitting-room where he had quietly fol- 
lowed her, he was conscious of a change in her man- 
ner which forbade these high hopes. The gleam 
was gone from her eyes; the tremulous eagerness 
from her mobile and sensitive mouth. She had been 
thinking in the hours which had passed, and had lost 
the confidence of that one impetuous moment. Her 
greeting betrayed embarrassment and she hesitated 
painfully before she spoke. 

" I don't know what you will think of me," she 
ventured at last, motioning to a chair but not sitting 
herself. ' You have had time to think over what I 
said and probably expect something real, some- 
thing you could tell people. But it isn't like that. 
It's a feeling a belief. I'm so sure " 

" Sure of what, Miss Scott? " 

She gave a glance at the door before stepping up 
nearer. He had not taken the chair she prof- 

" Sure that I have seen the face of the man who 
murdered her. It was in a dream," she whisperingly 
completed, her great eyes misty with awe. 

"A dream, Miss Scott?" He tried to hide his 

" Yes; I knew that it would sound foolish to you; 
it sounds foolish to me. But listen, sir. Listen to 
what I have to tell and then you can judge. I was 
very much agitated yesterday. I had to write a 
letter at Mr. Brotherson's dictation a letter to 
her. You can understand my horror and the effort 
I made to hide my emotion. I was quite unnerved. 


I could not sleep till morning, and then and then 
I saw I hope I can describe it." 

Grasping at a near-by chair, she leaned on it for 
support, closing her eyes to all but that inner vision. 
A breathless moment followed, then she murmured 
in strained monotonous tones : 

" I see it again just as I saw it in the early 
morning but even more plainly, if that is possible. 
A hall (I should call it a hall, though I don't re- 
member seeing any place like it before), with a little 
staircase at the side, up which there comes a man, 
who stops just at the top and looks intently my way. 
There is fierceness in his face a look which means 
no good to anybody and as his hand goes to his 
overcoat pocket, drawing out something which I can- 
not describe, but which he handles as if it were a 
pistol, I feel a horrible fear, and and " The 
child was staggering, and the hand which was free 
had sought her heart where it lay clenched, the 
knuckles showing white in the dim light. 

Mr. Challoner watched her with dilated eyes, the 
spell under which she spoke falling in some degree 
upon him. Had she finished? Was this all? No; 
she is speaking again, but v:ry low, almost in a whis- 

" There is music a crash but I plainly see his 
other hand approach the object he is holding. He 
takes something from the end the object is pointed 
my way I am looking into into what ? I do 
not know. I cannot even see him now. The space 
where he stood is empty. Everything fades, and I 
wake with a loud cry in my ears and a sense of death 


here" She had lifted her hand and struck at her 
heart, opening her eyes as she did so. " Yet it was 
not I who had been shot," she added softly. 

Mr. Challoner shuddered. This was like the re- 
opening of his daughter's grave. But he had en- 
tered upon the scene with a full appreciation of the 
ordeal awaiting him and he did not lose his calmness, 
or the control of his judgment. 

" Be seated, Miss Scott," he entreated, taking a 
chair himself. " You have described the spot and 
some of the circumstances of my daughter's death as 
accurately as if you had been there. But you have 
doubtless read a full account of those details in the 
papers; possibly seen pictures which would make the 
place quite real to you. The mind is a strange store- 
house. We do not always know what lie: hidden 
within it." 

" That's true," she admitted. " But the man I I 
had never seen the man, or any picture of him, and 
his face was clearest of all. I should know it if I 
saw it anywhere. It is imprinted on my memory as 
plainly as yours. Oh, I hope never to see that 
man I" 

Mr. Challoner sighed; he had really anticipated 
something from the interview. The disappoint- 
ment was keen. A moment of expectation; the thrill 
which comes to us all under the shadow of the super- 
natural, and then this! a young and imagina- 
tive girl's dream, convincing to herself but supplying 
nothing which had not already been supplied both 
by the facts and his own imagination I A man had 
stood at the staircase, and this man had raised his 


arm. She said that she had seen something like a 
pistol in his hand, but his daughter had not been 
shot. This he thought it well enough to point out 
to her. 

Leaning toward her that he might get her full at- 
tention, he waited till her eyes met his, then quietly 
asked : 

u Have you ever named this man to yourself? " 

She started and dropped her eyes. 

" I do not dare to," said she. 


" Because I've read in the papers that the man 
who stood there had the same name as " 

" Tell me, Miss Scott." 

" As Mr. Brotherson's brother." 

" But you do not think it was his brother? " 

" I do not know." 

" You've never seen his brother? " 

" Never." 

" Nor his picture? " 

" No, Mr. Brotherson has none." 

"Aren't they friends? Does he never mention 

" Very, very rarely. But I've no reason to think 
they are not on good terms. I know they corre- 

"Miss Scott?" 

" Yes, Mr. Challoner." 

" You must not rely too much upon your 

Her eyes flashed to his and then fell again. 

" Dreams are not revelations ; they are the repro- 


duction of what already lies hidden in the mind. I 
can prove that your dream is such." 

" How? " She looked startled. 
' You speak of seeing something being leveled at 
you which made you think of a pistol." 
' Yes, I was looking directly into it." 

" But my daughter was not shot. She died from 
a stab." 

Doris' lovely face, with its tender lines and girlish 
curves, took on r. strange look of conviction which 
deepened, rather than melted under his indulgent, 
jut penetrating gaze. 

" I know that you think so; but my dream says 
no. I saw this object. It was pointed directly to- 
wards me above all, I saw his face. It was the 
face of one whose finger is on the trigger and who 
mean? death ; and I believe my dream." 

Wei 1 , if- v/as useless to reason further. Gentle in 
all else, she was immovable so fur as this idea was 
concerned and, seeing this, he let the matter go and 
prepared to take his leave. 

She seemed to be quite ready for this. Anxiety 
about her patient had regained its place in her mind, 
and her glance sped constantly toward the door. 
Taking her hand in his, he said some kind words, 
then crossed to the door and opened it. Instantly 
her finger flew to her lips and, obedient to its silent 
injunction, he took up his hat in silence, and was pro- 
ceeding down the hall, when the bell rang, startling 
them both and causing him to step quickly back. 

" Who is it? " she asked. " Father's in and vis- 
itors seldom come so late." 


"Shall I see?" 

She nodded, looking strangely troubled as the door 
swung open, revealing the tall, strong figure of a 
man facing them from the porch. 

" A stranger," formed itself upon her lips, and 
she was moving forward, when the man suddenly 
stepped into the glare of the light, and she stopped, 
with a murmur of dismay which pierced Mr. Chal- 
loner's heart and prepared him for the words which 
now fell shudderingly from her lips: 

" It is he ! it is he ! I said that I should know 
him wherever I saw him." Then with a quiet turn 
towards the intruder, " Oh, why, why, did you come 



HER hands were thrust out to repel, her features 
were fixed; her beauty something wonderful. Or- 
lando Brotherson, thus met, stared for a moment at 
the vision before him, then slowly and with effort 
withdrawing his gaze, he sought the face of Mr. 
Challoner with the first sign of open disturbance that 
gentleman had ever seen in him. 

" Ah," said he, " my welcome is readily under- 
stood. I see you far from home, sir." And with 
an ironical bow he turned again to Doris, who had 
dropped her hands, but in whose cheeks the pallor 
still lingered in a way to check the easy flow of words 
with which he might have sought to carry off the sit- 

"Am I in Oswald Brotherson's house?" he 
asked. " I was directed here. But possibly there 
may bs some mistake." 

" It is here he lives," said she; moving back auto- 
matically till she stood again by the threshold of the 
small room in which she had received Mr. Chal- 
loner. " Do you wish to see him to-night? If so, 
I fear it is impossible. He has been very ill and is 
not allowed to receive visits from strangers." 

" I am not a stranger," announced the newcomer, 
with a smile few could see unmoved, it offered such 
a contrast to his stern and dominating figure. " I 



thought I heard some words of recognition which 
would prove your knowledge of that fact." 

She did not answer. Her lips had parted, but 
her thought or at least the expression of her thought 
hung suspended in the terror of this meeting for 
which she was not at all prepared. He seemed to 
note this terror, whether or not he understood its 
cause, and smiled again, as he added: 

" Mr. Brotherson must have spoken of his brother 
Orlando. I am he, Miss Scott. Will you let me 
come in now? " 

Her eyes sought those of Mr. Challoner, who 
quietly nodded. Immediately she stepped from be- 
fore the door which her figure had guarded and, mo- 
tioning him to enter, she begged Mr. Challoner, with 
an imploring look, to sustain her in the interview she 
saw before her. He had no desire for this en- 
counter, especially as Mr. Brotherson's glance in his 
direction had been anything but conciliatory. He 
was quite convinced that nothing was to be gained 
by it, but he could not resist her appeal, and followed 
them into the little room whose limited dimensions 
made the tall Orlando look bigger and stronger and 
more lordly in his self-confidence than ever. 

" I am sorry it is so late," she began, contem- 
plating his intrusive figure with forced composure. 
' We have to be very quiet in the evenings so as not 
to disturb your brother's first sleep which is of great 
importance to him." 

' Then I'm not to see him to-night? " 

" I pray you to wait. He's he's been a very 
sick man." 


" Dangerously so? " 

" Yes." 

Orlando continued to regard her with a peculiar 
awakening gaze, showing, Mr. Challoner thought, 
more interest in her than in his brother, and when 
he spoke it was mechanically and as if in sole obedi- 
ence to the proprieties of the occasion. 

" I did not know he was ill till very lately. His 
last letter was a cheerful one, and I supposed that 
all was right till chance revealed the truth. I came 
on at once. I was intending to come anyway. I 
have business here, as you probably know, Miss 

She shook her head. " I know very little about 
business," said she. 

" My brother has not told you why he expected 

" He has not even told me that he expected you." 

" No? " The word was highly expressive; there 
was surprise in it and a touch of wonder, but more 
than all, satisfaction. " Oswald was always close- 
mouthed," he declared. " It's a good fault; I'm 
obliged to the boy." 

These last words were uttered with a lightness 
which imposed upon his two highly agitated hearers, 
causing Mr. Challoner to frown and Doris to shrink 
back in indignation at the man who could indulge in 
a sportive suggestion in presence of such fears, if not 
of such memories, as the situation evoked. But to 
one who knew the strong and self-contained man - 
to Sweetwater possibly, had he been present, there 
was in this very attempt in his quiet manner and 


in the strange and fitful flash of his ordinarily quick, 
eye, that which showed he was labouring and had 
been labouring almost from his first entrance, under 
an excitement of thought and feeling which in one 
of his powerfully organised nature must end and 
that soon in an outburst of mysterious passion which 
would carry everything before it. But he did not 
mean that it should happen here. He was too ac- 
customed to self-command to forget himself in this 
presence. He would hold these rampant dogs in 
leash till the hour of solitude ; then a glittering 
smile twisted his lips as he continued to gaze, first 
at the girl who had just entered his life, and then at 
the man he had every reason to distrust, and with 
that firm restraint upon himself still in full force, 
remarked, with a courteous inclination: 

" The hour is late for further conversation. I 
have a room at the hotel and will return to it at once. 
In the morning I hope to see my brother." 

He was going, Doris not knowing what to say, Mr. 
Challoner not desirous of detaining him, when there 
came the sound of a little tinkle from the other side 
of the hall, blanching the young girl's cheeks and 
causing Orlando Brotherson's brows to rise in peculiar 

" My brother? " he asked. 

" Yes," came in faltering reply. " He has heard 
our voices; I must go to him." 

" Say that Orlando wishes him a good night," 
smiled her heart's enemy, with a bow of infinite grace. 

She shuddered, and was hastening from the room 
when her glance fell on Mr. Challoner. He was 


pale and looked greatly disturbed. The prospect of 
being left alone with a man whom she had herself 
denounced to him as his daughter's murderer, might 
prove a tax to his strength to which she had no right 
to subject him. Pausing with an appealing air, she 
made him a slight gesture which he at once under- 

" I will accompany you into the hall," said he. 
' Then if anything is wrong, you have but to speak 
my name." 

But Orlando Brotherson, displeased by this move, 
took a step which brought him between the two. 

" You can hear her from here if she chooses to 
speak. There's a point to be settled between us be- 
fore either of us leaves this house, and this oppor- 
tunity is as good as another. Go to my brother, 
Miss Scott; we will await your return." 

A flash from the proud banker's eye; but no de- 
mur, rather a gesture of consent. Doris, with a look 
of deep anxiety, sped away, and the two men stood 
face to face. 

It was one of those moments which men recognise 
as memorable. What had the one to say or the other 
to hear, worthy of this preamble and the more than 
doubtful relation in which they stood each to each? 
Mr. Challoner had more time than he expected in 
which to wonder and gird himself for whatever suffer- 
ing or shock awaited him. For, Orlando Brother- 
son, unlike his usual self, kept him waiting while he 
collected his own wits, which, strange to say, seemed 
to have vanished with the girl. 

But the question finally came. 


" Mr. Challoner, do you know my brother? " 

" I have never seen him." 

" Do you know him? Does he know you? " 

" Not at all. We are strangers." 

It was said honestly. They did not know each 
other. Mr. Challoner was quite correct in his state- 

But the other had his doubts. Why shouldn't he 
have? The coincidence of finding this mourner if 
not avenger of Edith Challoner, in his own direct 
radius again, at a spot so distant, so obscure and so 
disconnected with any apparent business reason, was 
certainly startling enough unless the tie could be 
found in his brother's name and close relationship 
to himself. 

He, therefore, allowed himself to press the ques- 

" Men sometimes correspond who do not know 
each other. You knew that a Brotherson lived 

" Yes." 

" And hoped to learn something about me " 

"No; my interest was solely with your brother." 

"With my brother? With Oswald? What in- 
terest can you have in him apart from me ? Oswald 

Suddenly a thought came an unimaginable one; 
one with power to blanch even his hardy cheek and 
shake a soul unassailable by all small emotions. 

"Oswald Brotherson!" he repeated; adding in 
unintelligible tones to himself " O. B. The same 
initials ! They are following up these initials. Poor 


Oswald." Then aloud : " It hardly becomes me, 
perhaps, to question your motives in this attempt at 
making my brother's acquaintance. I think I can 
guess them; but your labour will be wasted. Os- 
wald's interests do not extend beyond this town; they 
hardly extend to me. We are strangers, almost. 
You will learn nothing from him on the subject which 
naturally engrosses you." 

Mr. Challoner simply bowed. " I do not feel 
called upon," said he, " to explain my reasons for 
wishing to know your brother. I will simply satisfy 
you upon a point which may well rouse your curiosity. 
You remember that that my daughter's last act 
was the writing of a letter to a little protegee of hers. 
Miss Scott was that protegee. In seeking her, I 
came upon him. Do you require me to say more 
on this subject? Wait till I have seen Mr. Oswald 
Brotherson and then perhaps I can do so." 

Receiving no answer to this, Mr. Challoner turned 
again to the man who was the object of his deepest 
suspicions, to find him still in the daze of that unim- 
aginable thought, battling with it, scoffing at it, suc- 
cumbing to it and all without a word. Mr. Chal- 
loner was without clew to this struggle, but the might 
of it and the mystery of it, drove him in extreme agi- 
tation from the room. Though proof was lacking, 
though proof might never come, nothing could ever 
alter his belief from this moment on that Doris was 
right in her estimate of this man's guilt, however un- 
substantial her reasoning might appear. 

How far he might have been carried by this new 
conviction; whether he would have left the house 


without seeing Doris again or exchanging another 
word with the man whose very presence stifled him, 
he had no opportunity to show, for before he had 
taken another step, he encountered the hurrying 
figure of Doris, who was returning to her guests with 
an air of marked relief. 

" He does not know that you are here," she 
whispered to Mr. Challoner, as she passed him. 
Then, as she again confronted Orlando who hastened 
to dismiss his trouble at her approach, she said quite 
gaily, " Mr. Brotherson heard your voice, and is 
glad to know that you're here. He bade me give 
you this key and say that you would have found 
things in better shape if he had been in condition to 
superintend the removal of the boxes to the place he 
had prepared for you before he became ill. I was the 
one to do that," she added, controlling her aversion 
with manifest effort. " When Mr. Brotherson came 
to himself he asked if I had heard about any large 
boxes having arrived at the station shipped to his 
name. I said that several notices of such had come 
to the house. At which he requested me to see that 
they were carried at once to the strange looking shed 
he had had put up for him in the woods. I thought 
that they were for him, and I saw to the thing my- 
self. Two or three others have come since and been 
taken to the same place. I think you will find noth- 
ing broken or disturbed; Mr. Brotherson's wishes 
are usually respected." 

' That is fortunate for me," was the courteous re- 

But Orlando Brotherson was not himself, not at all 


himself as he bowed a formal adieu and withdrew 
past the drawn-up sentinel-like figure of Mr. Chal- 
loner, without a motion on his part or on the part of 
that gentleman to lighten an exit which had some- 
thing in it of doom and dread presage. 



IT is not difficult to understand Mr. Challoner's feel- 
ings or even those of Doris at the moment of Mr. 
Brotherson's departure. But why this change in 
Brotherson himself? Why this sense of something 
new and terrible rising between him and the suddenly 
beclouded future? Let us follow him to his lonely 
hotel-room and see if we can solve the puzzle. 

But first, does he understand his own trouble ? He 
does not seem to. For when, his hat thrown aside, 
he stops, erect and frowning under the flaring gas- 
jet he had no recollection of lighting, his first act was 
to lift his hand to his head in a gesture of surprising 
helplessness for him, while snatches of broken 
sentences fell from his lips among which could be 

'What has come to me? Undone in an hour! 
Doubly undone ! First by a face and then by this 
thought which surely the devils have whispered to me. 
Mr. Challoner and Oswald! What is the link be- 
tween them? Great God! what is the link? Not 
myself? Who then or what? " 

Flinging himself into a chair, he buried his face 
in his hands. There were two demons to fight 
the first in the guise of an angel. Doris ! Unknown 
yesterday, unknown an hour ago; but now! Had 
there ever been a day an hour when she had 


CHAOS 263 

not been as the very throb of his heart, the light of 
his eyes, and the crown of all imaginable blisses? 

He was startled at his own emotion as he con- 
templated her image in his fancy and listened for 
the lost echo of the few words she had spoken 
words so full of music when they referred to his 
brother, so hard and cold when she simply addressed 

This was no passing admiration of youth for a 
captivating woman. This was not even the love he 
had given to Edith Challoner. This was something 
springing full-born out of nothing ! a force which, 
for the first time in his life, made him complaisant to 
the natural weaknesses of man! a dream and yet a 
reality strong enough to blot out the past, remake 
the present, change the aspect of all his hopes, and 
outline a new fate. He did not know himself. 
There was nothing in his whole history to give him 
an understanding of such feelings as these. 

Can a man be seized as it were by the hair, and 
swung up on the slopes of paradise or down the 
steeps of hell without a forewarning, without the 
chance even to say whether he wished such a 
cataclysm in his life or no? 

He, Orlando Brotherson, had never thought much 
of love. Science had been his mistress; ambition his 
lode-star. Such feeling as he had acknowledged to 
had been for men struggling men, men who were 
down-trodden and gasping in the narrow bounds of 
poverty and helplessness. Miss Challoner had 
roused well, his pride. He could see that now. 
The might of this new emotion made plain many 


things he had passed by as useless, puerile, unworthy 
of a man of mental calibre and might He had 
never loved Edith Challoner at any moment of their 
acquaintanceship, though he had been sincere in think- 
ing that he did. Doris' beauty, the hour he had just 
passed with her, had undeceived him. 

Did he hail the experience? It was not likely to 
bring him joy. This young girl whose image floated 
in light before his eyes, would never love him. She 
loved his brother. He had heard their names 
mentioned together before he had been in town an 
hour. Oswald, the cleverest man, Doris, the most 
beautiful girl in Western Pennsylvania. 

He had accepted the gossip then; he had not seen 
her and it all seemed very natural ; hardly worth a 
moment's thought. But now! 

And here, the other Demon sprang erect and grap- 
pled with him before the first one had let go his hold. 
Oswald and Challoner ! The secret, unknown 
something which had softened J:hat hard man's eye 
when his brother's name was mentioned ! He had 
noted it and realised the mystery; a mystery before 
which sleep and rest must fly ; a mystery to which he 
must now give his thought, whatever the cost, what- 
ever the loss to those heavenly dreams the magic of 
which was so new it seemed to envelope him in the 
balm of Paradise. Away, then, image of light ! Let 
the faculties thou hast dazed, act again. There is 
more than Fate's caprice in Challoner's interest in a 
man he never saw. Ghosts of old memories rise and 
demand a hearing. Facts, trivial and commonplace 
enough to have been lost in oblivion with the day 

CHAOS 265 

which gave them birth, throng again from the past, 
proving that nought dies without a possibility of 
resurrection. Their power over this brooding man 
is shown by the force with which his fingers crush 
against his bowed forehead. Oswald and Challoner ! 
Had he found the connecting link? Had it been 
could it have been Edith f The preposterous is some- 
times true; could it be true in this case? 

He recalled the letters read to him as hers in that 
room of his in Brooklyn. He had hardly noted them 
then, he was so sure of their being forgeries, gotten 
up by the police to mislead him. Could they have 
been real, the effusions of her mind, the breathings of 
her heart, directed to an actual O. B., and that O. B., 
his brother? They had not been meant for him. 
He had read enough of the mawkish lines to be sure 
of that. None of the allusions fitted in with the facts 
of their mutual intercourse. But they might with 
those of another man; they might with the possible 
acts and affections of Oswald whose temperament 
was wholly different from his and who might have 
loved her, should it ever be shown that they had met 
and known each other. And this was not an impos- 
sibility. Oswald had been east, Oswald had even 
been in the Berkshires before himself. Oswald - 
AVhy it was Oswald who had suggested that he should 
go there go where she still was. Why this second 
coincidence, if there were no tie if the Challoners 
and Oswald were as far apart as they seemed and as 
conventionalities would naturally place them. Os- 
wald was a sentimentalist, but very reserved about his 
sentimentalities. If these suppositions were true, he 


had had a sentimentalist's motive for what he did. 
As Orlando realised this, he rose from his seat, 
aghast at the possibilities confronting him from this 
line of thought. Should he contemplate them? 
Risk his reason by dwelling on a supposition which 
might have no foundation in fact? No. His brain 
was too full his purposes too important for any 
unnecessary strain to be put upon his faculties. No 
thinking! investigation first. Mr. Challoner should 
be able to settle this question. He would see him. 
Even at this late hour he ought to be able to find him 
in one of the rooms below; and, by the force of an ir- 
resistible demand, learn in a moment whether he had 
to do with a mere chimera of his own overwrought 
fancy, or with a fact which would call into play all 
the resources of an hitherto unconquered and un- 
daunted nature. 

There was a wood-fire burning in the sitting-room 
that night, and around it was grouped a number of 
men with their papers and pipes. Mr. Brotherson, 
entering, naturally looked that way for the man he 
was in search of, and was disappointed not to find 
him there; but on casting his glances elsewhere, he 
was relieved to see him standing in one of the windows 
overlooking the street. His back was to the room 
and he seemed to be lost in a fit of abstraction. 

As. Orlando crossed to him, he had time to observe 
how much whiter was this man's head than in the 
last interview he had held with him in the coroner's 
office in New York. But this evidence of grief in one 
with whom he had little, if anything, in common, 
neither touched his feelings nor deterred his step. 

CHAOS 267 

The awakening of his heart to new and profound emo- 
tions had not softened him towards the sufferings of 
others if those others stood without the pale he had 
previously raised as the legitimate boundary of a just 
man's sympathies. 

He was, as I have said, an extraordinary specimen 
of manly vigour in body and in mind, and his presence 
in any company always attracted attention and roused, 
if it never satisfied, curiosity. Conversation accord- 
ingly ceased as he strode up to Mr. Challoner's side, 
so that his words were quite audible as he addressed 
that gentleman with a somewhat curt: 

' You see me again, Mr. Challoner. May I beg 
of you a few minutes' further conversation? I will 
not detain you long." 

The grey head turned, and the many eyes watch- 
ing showed surprise at the expression of dislike and 
repulsion with which this New York gentleman met 
the request thus emphatically urged. But his answer 
was courteous enough. If Mr. Brotherson knew a 
place where they would be left undisturbed, he would 
listen to him if he would be very brief. 

For reply, the other pointed to a small room quite 
unoccupied which opened cut of the one in which they 
then stood. Mr. Challoner bowed and in an other 
moment the door closed upon them, to the infinite dis- 
appointment of the men about the hearth. 

"What do you wish to ask?" was Mr. Chal- 
loner's immediate inquiry. 

" This. I make no apologies and expect in answer 
nothing more than an unequivocal yes or no. You 
tell me that you have never met my brother. Can 


that be said of the other members of your family 
of your deceased daughter, in fact? " 

" No." 

"She was acquainted with Oswald Brotherson?" 

" She was." 

"Without your knowledge? 

" Entirely so." 

" Corresponded with him? " 

" Not exactly." 

"How, not exactly?" 

" He wrote to her occasionally. She wrote to 
him frequently but she never sent her letters." 


The exclamation was sharp, short and conveyed lit- 
tle. Yet with its escape, the whole scaffolding of 
this man's hold upon life and his own fate went down 
in indistinguishable chaos. Mr. Challoner realised 
a sense of havoc, though the eyes bent upon his 
countenance had not wavered, nor the stalwart figure 

" I have read some of those letters," the inventor 
finally acknowledged. " The police took great pains 
to place them under my eye, supposing them to have 
been meant for me because of the initials written on 
the wrapper. But they were meant for Oswald. 
You believe that now? " 

" I know it." 

" And that is why I found you in the same house 
with him." 

" It is. Providence has robbed me of my 
daughter; if this brother of yours should prove to 
be the man I am led to expect, I shall ask him to 

CHAOS 269 

take that place in my heart and life which was 
once hers." 

A quick recoil, a smothered exclamation on the part 
of the man he addressed. A barb had been hidden 
in this simple statement which had reached some 
deeply-hidden but vulnerable spot in Brotherson's 
breast, which had never been pierced before. His 
eye which alone seemed alive, still rested piercingly 
upon that of Mr. Challoner, but its light was fast 
fading, and speedily became lost in a dimness in 
which the other seemed to see extinguished the last 
upflaring embers of those inner fires which feed the 
aspiring soul. It was a sight no man could see un- 
moved. Mr. Challoner turned sharply away, in 
dread of the abyss which the next word he uttered 
might open between them. 

But Orlando Brotherson possessed resources of 
strength of which, possibly, he was not aware himself. 
When Mr. Challoner, still more affected by the 
silence than by the dread I have mentioned, turned 
to confront him again, it was to find his features com- 
posed and his glance clear. He had conquered all 
outward manifestation of the mysterious emotion 
which for an instant had laid his proud spirit low. 

" You are considerate of my brother," were the 
words with which he re-opened this painful conversa- 
tion. ' You will not find your confidence misplaced. 
Oswald is a straightforward fellow, of few faults." 

" I believe it. No man can be so universally be- 
loved without some very substantial claims to regard. 
I am glad to see that your opinion, though given some- 
what coldly, coincides with that of his friends." 


" I am not given to exaggeration," was the even 

The flush which had come into Mr. Challoner's 
cheek under the effort he had made to sustain with un- 
flinching heroism this interview with the man he 
looked upon as his mortal enemy, slowly faded out 
till he looked the wraith of himself even to the un- 
sympathetic eyes of Orlando Brotherson. A duty lay 
before him which would tax to its utmost extent his 
already greatly weakened self-control. Nothing 
which had yet passed showed that this man realised 
the fact that Oswald had been kept in ignorance of 
Miss Challoner's death. If these brothers were to 
meet on the morrow, it must be with the full under- 
standing that this especial topic was to be completely 
avoided. But in what words could he urge such a 
request upon this man? None suggested themselves, 
yet he had promised Miss Scott that he would ensure 
his silence in this regard, and it was with this difficulty 
and no other he had been struggling when Mr. 
Brotherson came upon him in the other room. 

" You have still something to say," suggested the 
latter, as an oppressive silence swallowed up that icy 
sentence I have already recorded. 

" I have," returned Mr. Challoner, regaining his 
courage under the exigencies of the moment. " Miss 
Scott is very anxious to have your promise that you 
will avoid all disagreeable topics with your brother 
till the doctor pronounces him strong enough to meet 
the trouble which awaits him." 

" You mean " 

" He is not as unhappy as we. He knows nothing 

CHAOS 271 

of the affliction which has befallen him. He was 
taken ill " The rest was almost inaudible. 

But Orlando Brotherson had no difficulty in under- 
standing him, and for the second time in this extraor- 
dinary interview, he gave evidences of agitation 
and of a mind shaken from its equipoise. But only 
for an instant. He did not shun the other's gaze 
or even maintain more than a momentary silence. 
Indeed, he found strength to smile, in a curious, sar- 
donic way, as he said : 

" Do you think I should be apt to broach this 
subject with any one, let alone with him, whose con- 
nection with it I shall need days to realise? I'm not 
so given to gossip. Besides, he and I have other 
topics of interest. I have an invention ready with 
which I propose to experiment in a place he has 
already prepared for me. We can talk about 

The irony, the hardy self-possession with which 
this was said struck Mr. Challoner to the heart. 
Without a word he wheeled about towards the door. 
Without a word, Brotherson stood, watching him go 
till he saw his hand fall on the knob when he quietly 
prevented his exit by saying: 

" Unhappy truths cannot be long concealed. 
How soon does the doctor think my brother can 
bear these inevitable revelations?" 

" He said this morning that if his patient were as 
well to-morrow as his present condition gives promise 
of, he might be told in another week." 

Orlando bowed his appreciation of this fact, but 
added quickly: 


" Who is to do the telling?" 

" Doris. Nobody else could be trusted with so 
delicate a task." 

" I wish to be present." 

Mr. Challoner looked up, surprised at the feeling 
with which this request was charged. 

"As his brother his only remaining relative, 
I have that right. Do you think that Dor that 
Miss Scott, can be trusted not to forestall that mo- 
ment by any previous hint of what awaits him? " 

" If she so promises. But will you exact this 
from her? It surely cannot be necessary for me to 
say that your presence will add infinitely to the diffi- 
culty of her task." 

" Yet it is a duty I cannot shirk. I will consult 
the doctor about it. I will make him see that I 
both understand and shall insist upon my rights in 
this matter. But you may tell Miss Doris that I 
will sit out of sight, and that I shall not obtrude my- 
self unless my name is brought up in an undesirable 

The hand on the door-knob made a sudden move- 

" Mr. Brotherson, I can bear no more to-night. 
With your permission, I will leave this question to be 
settled by others." And with a repetition of his 
former bow, the bereaved father withdrew. 

Orlando watched him till the door closed, then he 
too dropped his mask. 

But it was on again, when in a little while he 
passed through the sitting-room on his way upstairs. 

CHAOS 273 

No other day in his whole life had been like this 
to the hardy inventor; for in it both his heart and his 
conscience had been awakened, and up to this hour he 
had not really known that he possessed either. 



OTHER boxes addressed to O. Brotherson had been 
received at the station, and carried to the mysterious 
shed in the woods; and now, with locked door and 
lifted top, the elder brother contemplated his stores 
and prepared himself for work. 

He had been allowed a short interview with Os- 
wald, and he had indulged himself in a few words 
with Doris. But he had left those memories behind 
with other and more serious matters. Nothing that 
could unnerve his hand or weaken his insight should 
enter this spot sacred to his great hope. Here 
genius reigned. Here he was himself wholly and 
without flaw; a Titan with his grasp on a mechan- 
ical idea by means of which he would soon rule the 

Not so happy were the other characters in this 
drama. Oswald's thoughts, disturbed for a short 
time by the somewhat constrained interview he had 
held with his brother, had flown eastward again, in 
silent love and longing; while Doris, with a double 
dread now in her heart, went about her daily tasks, 
praying for strength to endure the horrors of this 
week, without betraying the anxieties secretly devour- 
ing her. And she was only seventeen and quite alone 
in her trouble. She must bear it all unassisted 
and smile, which she did with heavenly sweetness, 



when the magic threshold was passed and she stood in 
her invalid's presence, overshadowed though it ever 
was by the great Dread. 

And Mr. Challoner? Let those endless walks of 
his through the woods and over the hills tell his story 
if they can; or his rapidly whitening hair, and lag- 
ging step. He had been a strong man before his 
trouble, and had the stroke which laid him low been 
limited to one quick, sharp blow he might have risen 
above it after a while and been ready to encounter 
life again. But this long drawn out misery was 
proving too much for him. The sight of Brother- 
son, though they never really met, acted like acid 
upon a wound, and it was not till six days had passed 
and the dreaded Sunday was at hand, that he slept 
with any sense of rest or went his way about the town 
without that halting at the corners which betrayed his 
perpetual apprehension of a most undesirable en- 

The reason for this change will be apparent in 'he 
short conversation he held with a man he had come 
upon one evening in the small park just beyond the 
workmen's dwellings. 

" You see I am here," was the stranger's low 

" Thank God," was Mr. Challoner's reply. " I 
could not have faced to-morrow alone and I doubt 
if Miss Scott could have found the requisite courage. 
Does she know that you are here? " 

" I stopped at her door." 

"Was that safe?" 

" I think so. Mr. Brotherson the Brooklyn 


one, is up in his shed. He sleeps there now, I am 
told, and soundly too I've no doubt." 

" What is he making? " 

" What half the inventors on both sides of the 
water are engaged upon just now. A monoplane, or 
a biplane, or some machine for carrying men through 
the air. I know, for I helped him with it. But 
you'll find that if he succeeds in this undertaking, and 
I believe he will, nothing short of fame awaits him. 
His invention has startling points. But I'm not go- 
ing to give them away. I'll be true enough to him 
for that. As an inventor he has my sympathy; but 
Well, we will see what we shall see, to-morrow. 
You say that he is bound to be present when Miss 
Scott relates her tragic story. He won't be the only 
unseen listener. I've made my own arrangements 
with Miss Scott. If he feels the need of watching 
her and his brother Oswald, I feel the need of watch- 
ing him." 

' You take a burden of intolerable weight from 
my shoulders. Now I shall feel easier about that 
interview. But I should like to ask you this: Do 
you feel justified in this continued surveillance of a 
man who has so frequently, and with such evident sin- 
cerity, declared his innocence? " 

" I do that. If he's as guiltless as he says he is, 
my watchfulness won't hurt him. If he's not, then, 
Mr. Challoner, I've but one duty; to match his 
strength with my patience. That man is the one 
great mystery of the day, and mysteries call for so- 
lution. At least, that's the way a detective looks 
at it." 


" May Heaven help your efforts ! " 

" I shall need its assistance," was the dry re- 
joinder. Sweetwater was by no means blind to the 
difficulties awaiting him. 



THE day was a grey one, the first of the kind in 
weeks. As Doris stepped into the room where Os- 
wald sat, she felt how much a ray of sunshine would 
have encouraged her and yet how truly these leaden 
skies and this dismal atmosphere expressed the gloom 
which soon must fall upon this hopeful, smiling man. 

He smiled because any man must smile at the en- 
trance of so lovely a woman, but it was an abstracted 
smile, and Doris, seeing it, felt her courage falter for 
a moment, though her steps did not, nor her steady 
compassionate gaze. Advancing slowly, and not an- 
swering because she did not hear some casual re- 
mark of his, she took her stand by his side and then 
slowly and with her eyes on his face, sank down upon 
her knees, still without speaking, almost without 

His astonishment was evident, for her air was 
strange and full of presage, as, indeed, she had 
meant it to be. But he remained as silent as she, 
only reached out his emaciated hand and, laying it 
on her head, smiled again but this time far from ab- 
stractedly. Then, as he saw her cheeks pale in ter- 
ror of the task before her, he ventured to ask gently : 

"What is the matter, child? So weary, eh? 
Nothing worse than that, I hope." 

"Are you quite strong this morning? Strong 


enough to listen to my troubles ; strong enough to bear 
your own if God sees fit to send them? " came hesi- 
tatingly from her lips as she watched the effect of 
each word, in breathless anxiety. 

'Troubles? There can be but one trouble for 
me," was his unexpected reply. " That I do not 
fear will not fear in my hour of happy recovery. 
So long as Edith is well Doris ! Doris 1 You 
alarm me. Edith is not ill ; not ill ? " 

The poor child could not answer save with her 
sympathetic look and halting, tremulous breath; and 
these signs, he would not, could not read, his own 
words had made such an echo in his ears. 

" 111! I cannot imagine Edith ill. I always see 
her in my thoughts, as I saw her on that day of our 
first meeting; a perfect, animated woman with the 
joyous look of a glad, harmonious nature. Noth- 
ing has ever clouded that vision. If she were ill I 
would have known it. We are so truly one that 
Doris, Doris, you do not speak. You know the depth 
of my love, the terror of my thoughts. Is Edith 

The eyes gazing wildly into his, slowly left his face 
and raised themselves aloft, with a sublime look. 
Would he understand? Yes, he understood, and the 
cry which rang from his lips stopped for a moment 
the beating of more than one heart in that little cot- 

" Dead ! " he shrieked out, and fell back fainting 
in his chair, his lips still murmuring in semi-uncon- 
sciousness, " Dead ! dead ! " 

Doris sprang to her feet, thinking of nothing but 


his wavering, slipping life till she saw his breath re- 
turn, his eyes refill with light. Then the horror of 
what was yet to come the answer which must be 
given to the how she saw trembling on his lips, 
caused her to sink again upon her knees in an uncon- 
scious appeal for strength. If that one sad revela- 
tion had been all ! 

But the rest must be told; his brother exacted it 
and so did the situation. Further waiting, further 
hiding of the truth would be insupportable after this. 
But oh, the bitterness of it! No wonder that she 
turned away from those frenzied, wildly-demanding 


She trembled and looked behind her. She had not 
recognised his voice. Had another entered? Had 
his brother dared No, they were alone; seemingly 
so, that is. She knew, no one better that they 
were not really alone, that witnesses were within hear- 
ing, if not within sight. 

" Doris," he urged again, and this time she turned 
in his direction and gazed, aghast. If the voice were 
strange, what of the face which now confronted her. 
The ravages of sickness had been marked, but they 
were nothing to those made in an instant by a blasting 
grief. She was startled, although expecting much, 
and could only press his hands while she waited for 
the question he was gathering strength to utter. It 
was simple when it came; just two words: 

"How long?" 

She answered them as simply. 

" Just as long as you have been ill," said she; then, 


with no attempt to break the inevitable shock, she 
went on: " Miss Challoner was struck dead and you 
were taken down with typhoid on the self-same day." 

" Struck dead ! Why do you use that word, 
struck? Struck dead! she, a young woman. Oh, 
Doris, an accident I My darling has been killed in 
an accident ! " 

1 They do not call it accident. They call it what 
it never was. What it never was," she insisted, 
pressing him back with frightened hands, as he strove 
to rise. " Miss Challoner was " How nearly the 
word shot had left her lips. How fiercely above all 
else, in that harrowing moment had risen the desire 
to fling the accusation of that word into the ears of 
him who listened from his secret hiding-place. But 
she refrained out of compassion for the man she 
loved, and declared instead, " Miss Challoner died 
from a wound ; how given, why given, no one knows. 
I had rather have died myself than have to tell you 
this. Oh, Mr. Brotherson, speak, sob, do anything 

She started back, dropping his hands as she did so. 
With quick intuition she saw that he must be left to 
himself if he were to meet this blow without succumb- 
ing. The body must have freedom if the spirit 
would not go mad. Conscious, or perhaps not con- 
scious, of his release from her restraining hand, al- 
beit profiting by it, he staggered to his feet, murmur- 
ing that word of doom : " Wound ! wound I my 
darling died of a wound ! What kind of a wound? " 
he suddenly thundered out. " I cannot understand 
what you mean by wound. Make it clear to me. 


Make it clear to me at once. If I must bear this 
grief, let me know its whole depth. Leave nothing 
to my imagination or I cannot answer for myself. 
Tell it all, Doris." 

And Doris told him : 

" She was on the mezzanine floor of the hotel 
where she lives. She was seemingly happy and had 
been writing a letter a letter to me which they 
never forwarded. There was no one else by but some 
strangers good people whom one must believe. 
She was crossing the floor when suddenly she threw 
up her hands and fell. A thin, narrow paper-cutter 
was in her grasp; and it flew into the lobby. Some 
say she struck herself with that cutter; for when they 
picked her up they found a wound in her breast which 
that cutter might have made." 

"Edith? never!" 

The words were chokingly said; he was swaying, 
almost falling, but he steadied himself. 

" Who says that? " he asked. 

" It was the coroner's verdict." 

" And she died that way died? " 

" Immediately." 

" After writing to you? " 

" Yes." 

" What was in that letter? " 

" Nothing of threat, they say. Only just cheer 
and expressions of hope. Just like the others, Mr. 

"And they accuse her of taking her own life? 
Their verdict is a lie. They did not know her." 
Then, after some moments of wild and confused feel- 


ing, he declared, with a desperate effort at self-con- 
trol : ' You said that some believe this. Then 
there must be others who do not. What do they 

" Nothing. They simply feel as you do. They 
see no reason for the act and no evidence of her 
having meditated it. Her father and her friends 
insist besides, that she was incapable of such a hor- 
ror. The mystery of it is killing us all; me above 
others, for I've had to show you a cheerful face, with 
my brain reeling and my heart like lead in my 

She held out her hands. She tried to draw his 
attention to herself; not from any sentiment of ego- 
tism, but to break, if she could, the strain of these in- 
supportable horrors where so short a time before 
Hope sang and Life revelled in re-awakened joys. 

Perhaps some faint realisation of this reached him, 
for presently he caught her by the hands and bowed 
his head upon her shoulder and finally let her seat him 
again, before he said: 

" Do they know of of my interest in this? " 

" Yes; they know about the two O. B.s." 

"The two " He was on his feet again, but 
only for a moment; his weakness was greater than 
his will power. 

" Orlando and Oswald Brotherson," she ex- 
plained, in answer to his broken appeal. * Your 
brother wrote letters to her as well as you, and signed 
them just as you did, with his initials only. These 
letters were found in her desk, and he was supposed, 
for a time, to have been the author of all that were 


so signed. But they found out the difference after 
awhile. Yours were easily recognised after they 
learned there was another O. B. who loved her." 

The words were plain enough, but the stricken 
listener did not take them in. They carried no mean- 
ing to him. How should they? The very idea she 
sought to impress upon him by this seemingly care- 
less allusion was an incredible one. She found it her 
dreadful task to tell him the hard, bare truth. 

" Your brother," said she, " was devoted to Miss 
Challoner, too. He even wanted to marry her. I 
cannot keep back this fact. It is known everywhere, 
and by everybody but you." 

" Orlando? " His lips took an ironical curve, as 
he uttered the word. This was a young girl's im- 
aginative fancy to him. ' Why Orlando never knew 
her, never saw her, never " 

" He met her at Lenox." 

The name produced its effect. He stared, made 
an effort to think, repeated Lenox over to himself; 
then suddenly lost his hold upon the idea which that 
word suggested, struggled again for it, seized it in 
an instant of madness and shouted out : 

' Yes, yes, I remember. I sent him there " and 
paused, his mind blank again. 

Poor Doris, frightened to her very soul, looked 
blindly about for help ; but she did not quit his side ; 
she did not dare to, for his lips had reopened; the 
continuity of his thoughts had returned; he was going 
to speak. 

" I sent him there." The words came in a sort of 
shout. " I was so hungry to hear of her and I 


thought he might mention her in his letter. Insane I 
insane ! He saw her and What's that you said 
about his loving her? He couldn't have loved her; 
he's not of the loving sort. They've deceived you 
with strange tales. They've deceived the whole 
world with fancies and mad dreams. He may have 
admired her, but loved her, no! or if he had, he 
would have respected my claims." 

u He did not know them." 

A laugh; a laugh which paled Doris' cheek; then 
his tones grew even again, memory came back and 
he muttered faintly: 

" That is true. I said nothing to him. He had 
the right to court her and he did, you say; wrote 
to her; imposed himself upon her, drove her mad 
with importunities she was forced to rebuke; and 
and what else? There is something else. Tell me; 
I will know it all." 

He was standing now, his feebleness all gone, 
passion in every lineament and his eye alive and fev- 
erish, with emotion. " Tell me," he repeated, with 
unrestrained vehemence. " Tell me all. Kill me 
with sorrow but save me from being unjust." 

"He wrote her a letter; it frightened her. He 
followed it up by a visit " 

Doris paused ; the sentence hung suspended. She 
had heard a step a hand on the door. 

Orlando had entered the room. 



OSWALD had heard nothing, seen nothing. But he 
took note of Doris' silence, and turning towards her 
in frenzy saw what had happened, and so was in a 
measure prepared for the stern, short sentence which 
now rang through the room : 

' Wait, Miss Scott! you tell the story badly. Let 
him listen to me. From my mouth only shall he hear 
the stern and seemingly unnatural part I played in 
this family tragedy." 

The face of Oswald hardened. Those pliant 
features beloved for their gracious kindliness 
set themselves in lines which altered them almost 
beyond recognition; but his voice was not without 
some of its natural sweetness, as, after a long and 
hollow look at the other's composed countenance, he 
abruptly exclaimed: 

"Speak! I am bound to listen; you are my 

Orlando turned towards Doris. She was slipping 

" Don't go," said he. 

But she was gone. 

Slowly he turned back. 

Oswald raised his hand and checked the words 
with which he would have begun his story. 


ALONE 287 

" Never mind the beginnings," said he. " Doris 
has told all that. You saw Miss Challoner in Lenox 
admired her offered yourself to her and after- 
wards wrote her a threatening letter because she re- 
jected you." 

" It is true. Other men have followed just such 
unworthy impulses and been ashamed and sorry 
afterwards. I was sorry and I was ashamed, and as 
soon as my first anger was over went to tell her so. 
But she mistook my purpose and " 

"And what?" ' 

Orlando hesitated. Even his iron nature trem- 
bled before the misery he saw a misery he was 
destined to augment rather than soothe. With pains 
altogether out of keeping with his character, he 
sought in the recesses of his darkened mind for 
words less bitter and less abrupt than those which 
sprang involuntarily to his lips. But he did not find 
them. Though he pitied his brother and wished to 
show that he did, nothing but the stern language 
suitable to the stern fact he wished to impart, would 
leave his lips. 

" And ended the pitiful struggle of the moment 
with one quick, unpremeditated blow," was what he 
said. " There is no other explanation possible for 
this act, Oswald. Bitter as it is for me to acknowl- 
edge it, I am thus far guilty of this beloved woman's 
death. But, as God hears me, from the moment I 
first saw her, to the moment I saw her last, I did not 
know, nor did I for a moment dream that she was 
anything to you or to any other man of my stamp and 


station. I thought she despised my country birth, 
my mechanical attempts, my lack of aristocratic pre- 
tensions and traditions." 


" Now that I know she had other reasons for her 
contempt that the words she wrote were in rebuke 
to the brother rather than to the man, I feel my guilt 
and deplore my anger. I cannot say more. I 
should but insult your grief by any lengthy expres- 
sions of regret and sorrow." 

A groan of intolerable anguish from the sick 
man's lips, and then the quick thrust of his re-awak- 
ened intelligence rising superior to the overthrow of 
all his hopes. 

" For a woman of Edith's principle to seek death 
in a moment of desperation, the provocation must 
have been very great. Tell me if I'm to hate you 
through life yea through all eternity or if I 
must seek in some unimaginable failure of my own 
character or conduct the cause of her intolerable de- 
spair." 1 

" Oswald ! " The tone was controlling, and yet 
that of one strong man to another. " Is it for us to 
read the heart of any woman, least of all of a woman 
of her susceptibilities and keen inner life? The 
wish to end all comes to some natures like a lightning 
flash from a clear sky. It comes, it goes, often 
without leaving a sign. But if a weapon chances to 
be near (here it was in hand) then death fol- 
lows the impulse which, given an instant of thought, 
would have vanished in a back sweep of other emo- 
tions. Chance was the real accessory to this death 

ALONE 289 

by suicide. Oswald, let us realise it as such and ac- 
cept our sorrow as a mutual burden and turn to 
what remains to us of life and labour. Work is 
grief's only consolation. Then let us work." 

But of all this Oswald had caught but the one 

" Chance? " he repeated. " Orlando, I believe in 

' Then seek your comfort there. I find it in 
harnessing the winds; in forcing the powers of na- 
ture to do my bidding." 

The other did not speak, and the silence grew 
heavy. It was broken, when it was broken, by a 
cry from Oswald: 

" No more," said he, " no more." Then, in a 
yearning accent, " Send Doris to me." 

Orlando started. This name coming so close 
upon that word comfort produced a strange effect 
upon him. But another look at Oswald and he was 
ready to do his bidding. The bitter ordeal was 
over; let him have his solace if it was in her power 
to give it to him. 

Orlando, upon leaving his brother's room, did not 
stop to deliver that brother's message directly to 
Doris; he left this for Truda to do, and retired im- 
mediately to his hangar in the woods. Locking 
himself in, he slightly raised the roof and then sat 
down before the car which was rapidly taking on 
shape and assuming that individuality and appear- 
ance of sentient life which hitherto he had only seen 
in dreams. But his eye, which had never failed to 
kindle at this sight before, shone dully in the semi- 


gloom. The air-car could wait; he would first have 
his hour in this solitude of his own making. The 
gaze he dreaded, the words from which he shrank 
could not penetrate here. He might even shout her 
name aloud, and only these windowless walls would 
respond. He was alone with his past, his present and 
his future. 

Alone ! 

He needed to be. The strongest must pause when 
the precipice yawns before him. The gulf can be 
spanned; he feels himself forceful enough for that; 
but his eyes must take their measurement of it first; 
he must know its depths and possible dangers. Only 
a fool would ignore these steeps of jagged rock; and 
he was no fool, only a man to whom the unexpected 
had happened, a man who had seen his way clear to 
the horizon and then had come up against this! 
Love, when he thought such folly dead! Remorse, 
when Glory called for the quiet mind and heart ! 

He recognised its mordant fang, and knew that 
its ravages, though only just begun, would last his 
lifetime. Nothing could stop them now, nothing, 
nothing. And he laughed, as the thought went 
home; laughed at the irony of fate and its inexor- 
ableness; laughed at his own defeat and his nearness 
to a barred Paradise. Oswald loved Edith, loved 
her yet, with a flame time would take long to quench, 
Doris loved Oswald and he Doris; and not one of 
them would ever attain the delights each was so 
fitted to enjoy. Why shouldn't he laugh? What 
is left to man but mockery when all props fall? Dis- 

ALONE 291 

appointment was the universal lot; and it should go 
merrily with him if he must take his turn at it. But 
here the strong spirit of the man re-asserted itself; 
it should be but a turn. A man's joys are not 
bounded by his loves or even by the satisfaction of a 
perfectly untrammelled mind. Performance makes 
a world of its own for the capable and the strong, 
and this was still left to him. He, Orlando Broth- 
erson, despair while his great work lay unfinished! 
That would be to lay stress on the inevitable pains 
and fears of commonplace humanity. He was not 
of that ilk. Intellect was his god; ambition his mo- 
tive power. What would this casual blight upon his 
supreme contentment be to him, when with the wings 
of his air-car spread, he should spurn the earth and 
soar into the heaven of fame simultaneously with his 
flight into the open. 

He could wait for that hour. He had measured 
the gulf before him and found it passable. Hence- 
forth no looking back. 

Rising, he stood for a moment gazing, with an 
alert eye now, upon such sections of his car as had 
not yet been fitted into their places; then he bent for- 
ward to his work, and soon the lips which had ut- 
tered that sardonic laugh a few minutes before, 
parted in gentler fashion, and song took the place 
of curses a ballad of love and fondest truth. But 
Orlando never knew what he sang. He had the 
gift and used it. 

Would his tones, however, have rung out with 
quite so mellow a sweetness had he seen the restless 


figure even then circling his retreat with eyes dart- 
ing accusation and arms lifted towards him in wild 
but impotent threat? 

Yes, I think they would ; for he knew that the man 
who thus expressed his helplessness along with his 
convictions, was no nearer the end he had set himself 
to attain than on the day he first betrayed his sus- 



THAT night Oswald was taken very ill. For three 
days his life hung in the balance, then youth and 
healthy living triumphed over shock and bereave- 
ment, and he came slowly back to his sad and crip- 
pled existence. 

He had been conscious for a week or more of his 
surroundings, and of his bitter sorrows as well, when 
one morning he asked Doris whose face it was he 
had seen bending over him so often during the last 
week: "Have you a new doctor? A man with 
white hair and a comforting smile? Or have I 
dreamed this face? I have had so many fancies 
this might easily be one of them." 

" No, it is not a fancy," was the quiet reply. 
" Nor is it the face of a doctor. It is that of a 
friend. One whose heart is bound up in your re- 
covery; one for whom you must live, Mr. Brother- 


" I don't know him, Doris. It's a strange face to 
me. And yet, it's not altogether strange. Who is 
this man and why should he care for me so 

" Because you share one love and one grief. It 
is Edith's father whom you see at your bedside. He 
has helped to nurse you ever since you came down this 
second time." 



"Edith's father! Doris, it cannot be. Edith's 
father! " 

" Yes, Mr. Challoner has been in Derby for the 
last two weeks. He has only one interest now; to 
see you well again." 


Doris caught the note of pain, if not suspicion, in 
this query, and smiled as she asked in turn: 

" Shall he answer that question himself? He is 
waiting to come in. Not to talk. You need not 
fear his talking. He's as quiet as any man I ever 

The sick man closed his eyes, and Doris watch- 
ing, saw the flush rise to his emaciated cheek, then 
slowly fade away again to a pallor that frightened 
her. Had she injured where she would heal? Had 
she pressed too suddenly and too hard on the ever 
gaping wound in her invalid's breast? She gasped 
in terror at the thought, then she faintly smiled, for 
his eyes had opened again and showed a calm deter- 
mination as he said: 

" I should like to see him. I should like him to 
answer the question I have just put you. I should 
rest easier and get well faster or not get well at 

This latter he half whispered, and Doris, tripping 
from the room may not have heard it, for her face 
showed no further shadow as she ushered in Mr. 
Challoner, and closed the door behind him. She 
had looked forward to this moment for days. To 
Oswald, however, it was an unexpected excitement 
and his voice trembled with something more than 


physical weakness as he greeted his visitor and 
thanked him for his attentions. 

44 Doris says that you have shown me this kind- 
ness from the desire you have to see me well again, 
Mr. Challoner. Is this true?" 

4 Very true. I cannot emphasise the fact too 

Oswald's eyes met his again, this time with great 

' You must have serious reasons for feeling so 
reasons which I do not quite understand. May I 
ask why you place such value upon a life which, if 
ever useful to itself or others, has lost and lost for- 
ever, the one delight which gave it meaning? " 

It was for Mr. Challoner's voice to tremble now, 
as reaching out his hand, he declared, with unmis- 
takable feeling: 

" I have no son. I have no interest left in life, 
outside this room and the possibilities it contains for 
me. Your attachment to my daughter has created 
a bond between us, Mr. Brotherson, which I sin- 
cerely hope to see recognised by you." 

Startled and deeply moved, the young man 
stretched out a shaking hand towards his visitor, 
with the feeble but exulting cry: 

" Then you do not blame me for her wretched 
and mysterious death. You hold me guiltless of 
the misery which nerved her despairing arm? " 

" Quite guiltless." 

Oswald's wan and pinched features took on a 
beautiful expression and Mr. Challoner no longer 
wondered at his daughter's choice. 


' Thank God ! " fell from the sick man's lips, 
and then there was a silence during which their two 
hands met. 

It was some minutes before either spoke and then 
it was Oswald who said: 

" I must confide to you certain facts. I hon- 
oured your daughter and realised her position fully. 
Our plight was never made in words, nor should I 
have presumed to advance any claim to her hand if 
I had not made good my expectations, Mr. Chal- 
loner. I meant to win both her regard and yours 
by acts, not words. I felt that I had a great deal 
to do and I was prepared to work and wait. I 
loved her " He turned away his head and the 
silence which filled up the gap, united those two 
hearts, as the old and young are seldom united. 

But when a little later, Mr. Challoner rejoined 
Doris, in her little sitting-room, he nevertheless 
showed a perplexity she had hoped to see removed 
by this understanding with the younger Brotherson. 

The cause became apparent as soon as he spoke. 

" These brothers hold by each other," said he. 
" Oswald will hear nothing against Orlando. He 
says that he has redeemed his fault. He does not 
even protest that his brother's word is to be believed 
in this matter. He does not seem to think that nec- 
essary. He evidently regards Orlando's personality 
as speaking as truly and satisfactorily for itself, as his 
own does. And I dared not undeceive him." 

" He does not know all our reasons for distrust. 
He has heard nothing about the poor washer- 


" No, and he must not, not for weeks. He has 
borne all that he can." 

" His confidence in his older brother is sublime. 
I do not share it; but I cannot help but respect him 
for it." 

It was warmly said, and Mr. Challoner could not 
forbear casting an anxious look at her upturned face. 
What he saw there made him turn away with a sigh. 

' This confidence has for me a very unhappy side," 
he remarked. " It shows me Oswald's thought. 
He who loved her best, accepts the cruel verdict of 
an unreasoning public." 

Doris' large eyes burned with a weird light upon 
his face. 

" He has not had my dream," she murmured, with 
all the quiet of an unmoved conviction. 

Yet as the days went by, even her manner changed 
towards the busy inventor. It was hardly possible 
for it not to. The high stand he took; the regard 
accorded him on every side; his talent; his conver- 
sation, which was an education in itself, and, above 
all, his absorption in a work daily advancing towards 
completion, removed him so insensibly and yet so 
decidedly, from the hideous past of tragedy with 
which his name, if not his honour, was associated, 
that, unconsciously to herself, she gradually lost her 
icy air of repulsion and lent him a more or less at- 
tentive ear, when he chose to join their small com- 
pany of an evening. The result was that he turned 
so bright a side upon her that toleration merged 
from day to day into admiration and memory lost 
itself in anticipation of the event which was to prove 


him a man of men, if not one of the world's greatest 
mechanical geniuses. 

Meantime, Oswald was steadily improving in 
health, if not in spirits. He had taken his first walk 
without any unfavourable results, and Orlando de- 
cided from this that the time had come for an ex- 
planation of his device and his requirements in re- 
gard to it. Seated together in Oswald's room, he 
broached the subject thus: 

" Oswald, what is your idea about what I'm mak- 
ing up there ? " 

" That it will be a success." 

" I know; but its character, its use? What do you 
think it is? " 

"I've an idea; but my idea don't fit the condi- 

"How's that?" 

" The shed is too closely hemmed in. You 
haven't room " 

"For what?" 

" To start an aeroplane." 

" Yet it is certainly a device for flying." 

" I supposed so; but " 

" It is an air-car with a new and valuable idea 
the idea for which the whole world has been seeking 
ever since the first aeroplane found its way up from 
the earth. My car needs no room to start in save 
that w r hich it occupies. If it did, it would be but 
the modification of a hundred others." 


As Oswald thus gave expression to his surprise, 
their two faces were a study: the fire of genius in 


the one; the light of sympathetic understanding in 
the other. 

" If this car, now within three days of its comple- 
tion," Orlando proceeded, " does not rise from the 
oval .of my hangar like a bird from its nest, and after 
a wide and circling flight descend again into the self- 
same spot without any swerving from its direct 
course, then have I failed in my endeavour and must 
take a back seat with the rest. But it will not fail. 
I'm certain of success, Oswald. All I want just now 
is a t sympathetic helper you, for instance; some 
one who will aid me with the final fittings and hold 
his peace to all eternity if the impossible occurs and 
the thing proves a failure." 

" Have you such pride as that? " 

" Precisely." 

" So much that you cannot face failure? " 

" Not when attached to my name. You can see 
how I feel about that by the secrecy I have worked 
under. No other person living knows what I have 
just communicated to you. Every part shipped here 
came from different manufacturing firms; sometimes 
a part of a part was all I allowed to be made in any 
one place. My fame, like my ship, must rise with 
one bound into the air, or it must never rise at all. I 
was not made for petty accomplishment, or the slow 
plodding of commonplace minds. I must startle, or 
remain obscure. That is why I chose this place for 
my venture, and you for my helper and associate." 

" You want me to ascend with you? " 

" Exactly." 

" At the end of three days?" 


11 Yes." 

" Orlando, I cannot." 

" You cannot? Not strong enough yet? I'll 
wait then, three days more." 

" The time's too short. A month is scarcely suffi- 
cient. It would be folly, such as you never show, to 
trust a nerve so undermined as mine till time has 
restored its power. For an enterprise like this you 
need a man of ready strength and resources ; not one 
whose condition you might be obliged to consider at 
a very critical moment." 

Orlando, balked thus at the outset, showed his 

" You do not do justice to your will. It is strong 
enough to carry you through anything." 

" It was." 

" You can force it to act for you." 

" I fear not, Orlando." 

" I counted on you and you thwart me at the most 
critical moment of my life." 

Oswald smiled; his whole candid and generous na- 
ture bursting into view, in one quick flash. 

" Perhaps," he assented; " but you will thank me 
when you realise my weakness. Another man must 
be found quick, deft, secret, yet honourably alive 
to the importance of the occasion and your rights as 
a great original thinker and mechanician." 

" Do you know such a man? " 

" I don't; but there must be many such among 
our workmen." 

' There isn't one; and I haven't time to send to 
Brooklyn. I reckoned on you." 


" Can you wait a month? " 

" No." 

"A fortnight, then?" 

" No, not ten days." 

Oswald looked surprised. He would like to have 
asked why such precipitation was necessary, but the 
tone in which this ultimatum was given was of that 
decisive character which admits of no argument. 
He, therefore, merely looked his query. But Or- 
lando was not one to answer looks; besides, he had 
no reply for the same importunate question urged 
by his own good sense. He knew that he must 
make the attempt upon which his future rested soon, 
and without risk of the sapping influence of length- 
ened suspense and weeks of waiting. He could hold 
on to those two demons leagued in attack against 
him, for a definite seven days, but not for an inde- 
terminate time. If he were to be saved from folly, 
from himself events must rush. 

He, therefore, repeated his no, with increased 
vehemence, adding, as he marked the reproach in his 
brother's eye, " I cannot wait. The test must be 
made on Saturday evening next, whatever the condi- 
tions; whatever the weather. An air-car to be 
serviceable must be ready to meet lightning and 
tempest, and what is worse, perhaps, an insufficient 
crew." Then rising, he exclaimed, with a determi- 
nation which rendered him majestic, " // help is not 
forthcoming, I'll do it all myself. Nothing shall 
hold me back; nothing shall stop me; and when you 
see me and my car rise above the treetops, you'll feel 
that I have done what I could to make you forget " 


He did not^ need to continue. Oswald understood 
and flashed a grateful look his way before saying: 

" You will make the attempt at night? " 

" Certainly." 

"And on Saturday?" 

" I've said it." 

" I will run over in my mind the qualifications of 
such men as I know and acquaint you with the result 

" There are adjustments to be made. A man of 
accuracy is necessary." 

" I will remember." 

" And he must be likable. I can do nothing with 
a man with whom I'm not perfectly in accord." 

" I understand that." 

" Good-night then." A moment of hesitancy, then, 
" I wish not only yourself but Miss Scott to be pres- 
ent at this test. Prepare her for the spectacle; but 
not yet, not till within an hour or two of the occa- 

And with a proud smile in which flashed a sig- 
nificance which startled Oswald, he gave a hurried 
nod and turned away. 

When in an hour afterwards, Doris looked in 
through the open door, she found Oswald sitting with 
face buried in his hands, thinking so deeply that he 
did not hear her. He had sat like this, immovable 
and absorbed, ever since his brother had left him. 



OSWALD did not succeed in finding a man to please 
Orlando. He suggested one person after another 
to the exacting inventor, but none were satisfactory 
to him and each in turn was turned down. It is not 
every one we want to have share a world-wide tri- 
umph or an ignominious defeat. And the days were 

He had said in a moment of elation, " / will do it 
alone; " but he knew even then that he could not. 
Two hands were necessary to start the car; after- 
wards, he might manage it alone. Descent was even 
possible, but to give the contrivance its first lift re- 
quired a second mechanician. Where was he to find 
one to please him? And what was he to do if he 
did not? Conquer his prejudices against such men 
as he had seen, or delay the attempt, as Oswald had 
suggested, till he could get one of his old cronies on 
from New York. He could do neither. The ob- 
stinacy of his nature was such as to offer an invincible 
barrier against either suggestion. One alternative re- 
mained. He had heard of women aviators. If 
Doris could be induced to accompany him into the 
air, instead of clinging sodden-like to the weight of 
Oswald's woe, then would the world behold a tri- 
umph which would dwarf the ecstasy of the bird's 
flight and rob the eagle of his kingly pride. But 



Doris barely endured him as yet, and the thought 
was not one to be considered for a moment. Yet 
what other course remained? He was brooding 
deeply on the subject, in his hangar one evening 
(it was Thursday and Saturday was but two days 
off) when there came a light knock at the door. 

This had never occurred before. He had given 
strict orders, backed by his brother's authority, that 
he was never to be intruded upon when in this place ; 
and though he had sometimes encountered the pry- 
ing eyes of the curious flashing from behind the 
trees encircling the hangar, his door had never been 
approached before, or his privacy encroached upon. 
He started then, when this low but penetrating 
sound struck across the turmoil of his thoughts, and 
cast one look in the direction from which it came; 
but he did not rise, or even change his position on 
his workman's stool. 

Then it came again, still low but with an insist- 
ence which drew his brows together and made his 
hand fall from the wire he had been unconsciously 
holding through the mental debate which was ab- 
sorbing him. Still he made no response, and the 
knocking continued. Should he ignore it entirely, 
start up his motor and render himself oblivious to 
all other sounds? At every other point in his career 
he would have done this, but an unknown, and as 
yet unnamed, something had entered his heart dur- 
ing this fatal month, which made old ways im- 
possible and oblivion a thing he dared not court too 
recklessly. Should this be a summons from Doris ! 
Should (inconceivable idea, yet it seized upon him 


relentlessly and would not yield for the asking) 
should it be Doris herself I 

Taking advantage of a momentary cessation of 
the ceaseless tap tap, he listened. Silence was never 
profounder than in this forest on that windless night. 
Earth and air seemed, to his strained ear, emptied 
of all sound. The clatter of his own steady, un- 
hastened heart-beat was all that broke upon the still- 
ness. He might be alone in the Universe for all 
token of life beyond these walls, or so he was saying 
to himself, when sharp, quick, sinister, the knock- 
ing recommenced, demanding admission, insisting 
upon attention, drawing him against his own will to 
his feet, and finally, though he made more than one 
stand against it, to the very door. 

"Who's there?" he asked, imperiously and with 
some show of anger. 

No answer, but another quiet knock. 

" Speak! or go from my door. No one has the 
right to intrude here. What is your name and busi- 

Continued knocking nothing more. 

With an outburst of wrath, which made the han- 
gar ring, Orlando lifted his fist to answer this ap- 
peal in his own fierce fashion from his own side of 
the door, but the impulse paused at fulfilment, and 
he let his arm fall again in a rush of self-hatred which 
it would have pained his worst enemy, even little 
Doris, to witness. As it reached his side, the knock 
came again. 

It was too much. With an oath, Orlando reached 
for his key. But before fitting it into the lock, he 


cast a look behind him. The car was in plain sight, 
filling the central space from floor to roof. A 
single glance from a stranger's eye, and its principal 
secret would be a secret no longer. He must not 
run such a risk. Before he answered this call, he 
must drop the curtain he had rigged up against such 
emergencies as these. He had but to pull a cord 
and a veil would fall before his treasure, concealing 
it as effectually as an Eastern bride is concealed be- 
hind her yashmak. 

Stepping to the wall, he drew that cord, then with 
an impatient sigh, returned to the door. 

Another quiet but insistent knock greeted him. 

In no fury now, but with a vague sense of portent 
which gave an aspect of farewell to the one quick 
glance he cast about the well-known spot, he fitted the 
key in the lock, and stood ready to turn it. 

" I ask again your name and your business," he 
shouted out in loud command. " Tell them or " 
He meant to say, " or I do not turn this key." But 
something withheld the threat. He knew that it 
would perish in the utterance; that he could not carry 
it out. He would have to open the door now, re- 
sponse or no response. " Speak ! " was the word 
with which he finished his demand. 

A final knock. 

Pulling a pistol from his pocket, with his left 
hand, he turned the key with his right. 

The door remained unopened. 

Stepping slowly back, he stared at its unpainted 
boards for a moment, then he spoke up quietly, al- 
most courteously : 


" Enter." 

But the command passed unheeded; the latch was 
not raised, and only the slightest tap was heard. 

With a bound he reached forward and pulled the 
door open. Then a great silence fell upon him and 
a rigidity as of the grave seized and stiffened his 
powerful frame. 

The man confronting him from the darkness was 



AN instant of silence, during which the two men 
eyed each other; then, Sweetwater, with an ironical 
smile directed towards the pistol lightly remarked: 

" Mr. Challoner and other men at the hotel are 
acquainted with my purpose and await my return. 
I have come " here he cast a glowing look at the 
huge curtain cutting off the greater portion of the 
illy-lit interior "to offer you my services, Mr. 
Brotherson. I have no other motive for this in- 
trusion than to be of use. I am deeply interested in 
your invention, to the development of which I have 
already lent some aid, and can bring to the test you 
propose a sympathetic help which you could hardly 
find in any other person living." 

The silence which settled down at the completion 
of these words had a weight which made that of 
the previous moment seem light and all athrob with 
sound. The man within had not yet caught his 
breath; the man without held his, in an anxiety which 
had little to do with the direction of the weapon, 
into which he looked. Then an owl hooted far 
away in the forest, and Orlando, slowly lowering his 
arm, asked in an oddly constrained tone : 

" How long have you been in town? " 

The answer cut clean through any lingering hope 
he may have had. 



" Ever since the day your brother was told the 
story of his great misfortune." 

" Ah ! still at your old tricks ! I thought you had 
quit that business as unprofitable." 

" I don't know. I never expect quick returns. 
He who holds on for a rise sometimes reaps un- 
looked-for profits." 

The arm and fist of Orlando Brotherson ached to 
hurl this fellow back into the heart of the midnight 

But they remained quiescent and he spoke instead : 

" I have buried the business. You will never re- 
suscitate it through me." 

Sweetwater smiled. There was no mirth in his 
smile though there was lightness in his tone as he 

" Then let us go back to the matter in hand. 
You need a helper; where are you going to find one 
if you don't take me? " 

A growl from Brotherson's set lips. Never had 
he looked more dangerous than in the one burning in- 
stant following this daring repetition of the detect- 
ive's outrageous request. But as he noted how 
slight was the figure opposing him from the other 
side of the threshold, he was swayed by his natural 
admiration of pluck in the physically weak, and lost 
his threatening attitude, only to assume one which 
Sweetwater secretly found it even harder to meet. 

" You are a fool," was the stinging remark he 
heard flung at him. " Do you want to play the 
police-officer here and arrest me in mid air? " 

" Mr. Brotherson, you understand me as little 


as I am supposed to understand you. Humble as my 
place is in society and, I may add, in the Department 
whose interests I serve, there are in me two men. 
One you know passably well the detective whose 
methods, only indifferently clever show that he has 
very much to learn. Of the other the workman 
acquainted with hammer and saw, but with some 
knowledge too of higher mathematics and the princi- 
ples upon which great mechanical inventions depend, 
you know little, and must imagine much. I was play- 
ing the gawky when I helped you in the old house in 
Brooklyn. I was interested in your air-ship Oh, 
I recognised it for what it was, notwithstanding its 
oddity and lack of ostensible means for flying but 
I was not caught in the whirl of its idea ; the idea by 
which you doubtless expect, and with very good rea- 
son too, to revolutionise the science of aviation. But 
since then I've been thinking it over, and am so filled 
with your own hopes that either I must have a hand 
in the finishing and sailing of the one you have your- 
self constructed, or go to work myself on the hints 
you have unconsciously given me, and make a car of 
my own." 

Audacity often succeeds where subtlier means fail. 
Orlando, with a curious twist of his strong lip, took 
hold of the detective's arm and drew him in, shut- 
ting and locking the door carefully behind him. 

" Now," said he, " you shall tell me what you 
think you have discovered, to make any ideas of your 
own available in the manufacture of a superior self- 
propelling air-ship." 

Sweetwater who had been so violently wheeled 


about in entering that he stood with his back to the 
curtain concealing the car, answered without hesita- 

' You have a device, entirely new so far as I 
can judge, by which this car can leap at once into 
space, hold its own in any direction, and alight again 
upon any given spot without shock to the machine or 
danger to the people controlling it." 

" Explain the device." 

" I will draw it." 

"You can?" 

" As I see it." 

" As you see it! " 

" Yes. It's a brilliant idea ; I could never have 
conceived it." 

" You believe " 

" I know." 

" Sit here. Let's see what you know." 

Sweetwater sat down at the table the other pointed 
out, and drawing forward a piece of paper, took up 
a pencil with an easy air. Brotherson approached 
and stood at his shoulder. He had taken up his 
pistol again, why he hardly knew, and as Sweetwater 
began his marks, his fingers tightened on its butt 
till they turned white in the murky lamplight. 

" You see," came in easy tones from the stooping 
draughtsman, " I have an imagination which only 
needs a slight fillip from a mind like yours to send 
it in the desired direction. I shall not draw an 
exact reproduction of your idea, but I think you 
will see that I understand it very well. How's that 
for a start? " 


Brotherson looked and hastily drew back. He 
did not want the other to note his surprise. 

" But that is a portion you never saw," he loudly 

" No, but I saw this," returned Sweetwater, work- 
ing busily on some curves; " and these gave me the 
fillip I mentioned. The rest came easily." 

Brotherson, in dread of his own anger, threw his 
pistol to the other end of the shed: 

" You knave ! You thief ! " he furiously cried. 

"How so?" asked Sweetwater smilingly, rising 
and looking him calmly in the face. " A thief is 
one who appropriates another man's goods, or, let 
us say, another man's ideas. I have appropriated 
nothing yet. I've only shown you how easily 
I could do so. Mr. Brotherson, take me in as your 
assistant. I will be faithful to you, I swear it. I 
want to see that machine go up." 

" For how many people have you drawn those 
lines? " thundered the inexorable voice. 

" For nobody ; not for myself even. This is the first 
time they have left their hiding-place in my brain." 

" Can you swear to that? " 

" I can and will, if you require it. But you ought 
to believe my word, sir. I am square as a die in all 
matters not connected well, not connected with 
my profession," he smiled in a burst of that whimsi- 
cal humour, which not even the seriousness of the 
moment could quite suppress. 

" And what surety have I that you do not con- 
sider this very matter of mine as coming within the 
bounds you speak of?" 


" None. But you must trust me that far." 

Brotherson surveyed him with an irony which con- 
veyed a very different message to the detective than 
any he had intended. Then quickly: 

' To how many have you spoken, dilating upon 
this device, and publishing abroad my secret? " 

" I have spoken to no one, not even to Mr. Gryce. 
That shows my honesty as nothing else can." 
' You have kept my secret intact? " 

" Entirely so, sir." 

" So that no one, here or elsewhere, shares our 
knowledge of the new points in this mechanism? " 

" I say so, sir." 

' Then if I should kill you," came in ferocious 
accents, " now here " 

' You would be the only one to own that knowl- 
edge. But you won't kill me." 


" Need I go into reasons? " 

"Why? I say." 

" Because your conscience is already too heavily 
laden to bear the burden of another unprovoked 

Brotherson, starting back, glared with open feroc- 
ity upon the man who dared to face him with such an 

" God ! why didn't I shoot you on entrance I " he 
cried. " Your courage is certainly colossal." 

A fine smile, without even the hint of humour now, 
touched the daring detective's lip. Brotherson's 
anger seemed to grow under it, and he loudly re- 
peated : 


"It's more than colossal; it's abnormal and " 
A moment's pause, then with ironic pauses " and 
quite unnecessary save as a matter of display, unless 
you think you need it to sustain you through the or- 
deal you are courting. You wish to help me finish 
and prepare for flight? " 

" I sincerely do." 

" You consider yourself competent? " 

" I do." 

Brotherson's eyes fell and he walked once to the 
extremity of the oval flooring and back. 

" Well, we will grant that. But that's not all 
that is necessary. My requirements demand a com- 
panion in my first flight. Will you go up in the car 
with me on Saturday night? " 

A quick affirmative was on Sweetwater's lips but 
the glimpse which he got of the speaker's face glower- 
ing upon him from the shadows into which Brother- 
son had withdrawn, stopped its utterance, and the 
silence grew heavy. Though it may not have lasted 
long by the clock, the instant of breathless contem- 
plation of each other's features across the interven- 
ing space was of incalculable moment to Sweetwater, 
and, possibly, to Brotherson. As drowning men are 
said to live over their whole history between their 
first plunge and their final rise to light and air, so 
through the mind of the detective rushed the memo- 
ries of his past and the fast fading glories of his 
future ; and rebelling at the subtle peril he saw in that 
sardonic eye, he vociferated an impulsive: 

" No! I'll not " and paused, caught by a new 
and irresistible sensation. 


A breath of wind the first he had felt that 
night had swept in through some crevice in the 
curving wall, flapping the canvas enveloping the 
great car. It acted like a peal to battle. After all, 
a man must take some risks in his life, and his heart 
was in this trial of a redoubtable mechanism in which 
he had full faith. He could not say no to the pros- 
pect of being the first to share a triumph which 
would send his name to the ends of the earth; and, 
changing the trend of his sentence, he repeated with 
a calmness which had the force of a great decision: 

" I will not fail you in anything. If she rises " 
here his trembling hand fell on the curtain shutting 
off his view of the ship, " she shall take me with her, 
so that when she descends I may be the first to con- 
gratulate the proud inventor of such a marvel." 

" So be it! " shot from the other's lips, his eyes 
losing their threatening look, and his whole counte- 
nance suddenly aglow with the enthusiasm of 
awakened genius. 

Coming from the shadows, he laid his hand on the 
cord regulating the rise and fall of the concealing 

" Here she is ! " he cried and drew the cord. 

The canvas shook, gathered itself into great folds 
and disappeared in the shadows from which he had 
just stepped. 

The air-car stood revealed a startling, because 
wholly unique, vision. 

Long did Sweetwater survey it, then turning with 
beaming face upon the watchful inventor, he uttered 
a loud Hurrah. 


Next moment, with everything forgotten between 
them save the glories of this invention, both dropped 
simultaneously to the floor and began that minute 
examination of the mechanism necessary to their 
mutual work. 



SATURDAY night at eight o'clock. 

So the fiat had gone forth, with no concession to 
be made on account of weather. 

As Oswald came from his supper and took a look 
at the heavens from the small front porch, he was 
deeply troubled that Orlando had remained so ob- 
stinate on this point. For there were ominous clouds 
rolling up from the east, and the storms in this region 
of high mountains and abrupt valleys were not light, 
nor without danger even to those with feet well- 
planted upon mother earth. 

If the tempest should come up before eight I 

Mr. Challoner, who, from some mysterious im- 
pulse of bravado on the part of Brotherson, was to 
be allowed to make the third in this small band of 
spectators, was equally concerned at this sight, but 
not for Brotherson. His fears were for Oswald, 
whose slowly gathering strength could illy bear the 
strain which this additional anxiety for his brother's 
life must impose upon him. As for Doris, she was 
in a state of excitement more connected with the past 
than with the future. That afternoon she had laid 
her hand in that of Orlando Brotherson, and wished 
him well. She I in whose breast still lingered remi- 
niscences of those old doubts which had beclouded his 
image for her at their first meeting. She had not 



been able to avoid it. His look was a compelling 
one, and it had demanded thus much from her; and 
a terrible thought to her gentle spirit he might 
be going to his death ! 

It had been settled by the prospective aviator that 
they were to watch for the ascent from the mouth of 
the grassy road leading in to the hangar. The three 
were to meet there at a quarter to eight and await the 
stroke and the air-car's rise. That time was near, 
and Mr. Challoner, catching a glimpse of Oswald's 
pallid and unnaturally drawn features, as he set down 
the lantern he carried, shuddered with foreboding and 
wished the hour passed. 

Doris' watchful glance never left the face whose 
lightest change was more to her than all Orlando's 
hopes. But the result upon her was not to weaken 
her resolution, but to strengthen it. Whatever the 
outcome of the next few minutes, she must stand 
ready to sustain her invalid through it. That the 
darkness of early evening had deepened to oppres- 
sion, was unnoticed for the moment. The fears of 
an hour past had been forgotten. Their attention 
was too absorbed in what was going on before them, 
for even a glance overhead. 

Suddenly Mr. Challoner spoke. 

' Who is the man whom Mr. Brotherson has asked 
to go up with him? " 

It was Oswald who answered. 

" He has never told me. He has kept his own 
counsel about that as about everything else connected 
with this matter. He simply advised me that I was 


not to bother about him any more ; that he had found 
the assistant he wanted." 

" Such reticence seems unpardonable. You have 
displayed great patience, Oswald." 

" Because I understand Orlando. He reads men's 
natures like a book. The man he trusts, we may 
trust. To-morrow, he will speak openly enough. 
All cause for reticence will be gone." 

' You have confidence then in the success of this 
undertaking? " 

" If I hadn't, I should not be here. I could hardly 
bear to witness his failure, even in a secret test like 
this. I should find it too hard to face him after- 

" I don't understand." 

" Orlando has great pride. If this enterprise fails 
I cannot answer for him. He would be capable of 
anything. Why, Doris! what is the matter, child? 
I never saw you look like that before." 

She had been down on her knees regulating the 
lantern, and the sudden flame, shooting up, had 
shown him her face turned up towards his in an 
apprehension which verged on horror. 

" Do I look frightened? " she asked, remembering 
herself and lightly rising. " I believe that I am a lit- 
tle frightened. If if anything should go wrong! 
If an accident " But here she remembered herself 
again and quickly changed her tone. " But your 
confidence shall be mine. I will believe in his good 
angel or or in his self-command and great resolu- 
tion. I'll not be frightened any more." 


But Oswald did not seem satisfied. He continued 
to look at her in vague concern. 

He hardly knew what to make of the intense feel- 
ing she had manifested. Had Orlando touched her 
girlish heart? Had this cold-blooded nature, with 
its steel-like brilliancy and honourable but stern views 
of life, moved this warm and sympathetic soul to 
more than admiration? The thought disturbed him 
so he forgot the nearness of the moment they were 
all awaiting till a quick rasping sound from the han- 
gar, followed by the sudden appearance of an ever- 
widening band of light about its upper rim, drew 
his attention and awakened them all to a breathless 

The lid was rising. Now it was half-way up, and 
now, for the first time, it was lifted to its full height 
and stood a broad oval disc against the background 
of the forest. The effect was strange. The hangar 
had been made brilliant by many lamps, and their 
united glare pouring from its top and illuminating 
not only the surrounding treetops but the broad face 
of this uplifted disc, roused in the awed spectator 
a thrill such as in mythological times might have 
greeted the sudden sight of Vulcan's smithy blazing 
on Olympian hills. But the clang of iron on iron 
would have attended the flash and gleam of those un- 
expected fires, and here all was still save for that 
steady throb never heard in Olympus or the halls of 
Valhalla, the pant of the motor eager for flight in the 
upper air. 

As they listened in a trance of burning hope which 
obliterated all else, this noise and all others near 


and distant, was suddenly lost in a loud clatter of 
writhing and twisting boughs which set the forest in 
a roar and seemed to heave the air about them. 

A wind had swooped down from the east, bending 
everything before it and rattling the huge oval on 
which their eyes were fixed as though it would tear it 
from its hinges. 

The three caught at each other's hands in dismay. 
The storm had come just on the verge of the enter- 
prise, and no one might guess the result. 

"Will he dare? Will he dare?" whispered 
Doris, and Oswald answered, though it seemed next 
to impossible that he could have heard her : 

" He will dare. But will he survive it? Mr. 
Challoner," he suddenly shouted in that gentleman's 
ear, "what time is it now?" 

Mr. Challoner, disengaging himself from their 
mutual grasp, knelt down by the lantern to consult his 

" One minute to eight," he shouted back. 

The forest was now a pandemonium. Great 
boughs, split from their parent trunks, fell crashing 
to the ground in all directions. The scream of the 
wind roused echoes which repeated themselves, here, 
there and everywhere. No rain had fallen yet, but 
the sight of the clouds skurrying pell-mell through 
the glare thrown up from the shed, created such havoc 
in the already overstrained minds of the three on- 
lookers, that they hardly heeded, when with a clat- 
ter and crash which at another time would have 
startled them into flight, the swaying oval before them 
was whirled from its hinges and thrown back against 


the' trees already bending under the onslaught of the 
tempest. Destruction seemed the natural accompani- 
ment of the moment, and the only prayer which 
sprang to Oswald's lips was that the motor whose 
throb yet lingered in their blood though no longer 
taken in by the ear, would either refuse to work or 
prove insufficient to lift the heavy car into this seeth- 
ing tumult of warring forces. His brother's life 
hung in the balance against his fame, and he could 
not but choose life for him. Yet, as the multitudi- 
nous sounds about him yielded for a moment to that 
brother's shout, and he knew that the moment had 
come, which would soon settle all, he found himself 
staring at the elliptical edge of the hangar, with an 
anticipation which held in it as much terror as joy, 
for the end of a great hope or the beginning of a 
great triumph was compressed into this trembling 
instant and if 

Great God ! he sees it ! They all see it ! Plainly 
against that portion of the disc which still lifted itself 
above the further wall, a curious moving mass ap- 
pears, lengthens, takes on shape, then shoots sud- 
denly aloft, clearing the encircling tops of the bend- 
ing, twisting and tormented trees, straight into the 
heart of the gale, where for one breathless moment it 
whirls madly about like a thing distraught, then in 
slow but triumphant obedience to the master hand 
that guides it, steadies and mounts majestically up- 
ward till it is lost to their view in the depths of im- 
penetrable darkness. 

Orlando Brotherson has accomplished his task. 
He has invented a mechanism which can send an air- 


car straight up from its mooring place. As the three 
watchers realise this, Oswald utters a cry of triumph, 
and Doris throws herself into Mr. Challoner's arms. 
Then they all stand transfixed again, waiting for a 
descent which may never come. 

But hark! a new sound, mingling its clatter with 
all the others. It is the rain. Quick, maddening, 
drenching, it comes; enveloping them in wet in a mo- 
ment. Can they hold their faces up against it? 

And the wind ! Surely it must toss that aerial mes- 
senger before it and fling it back to earth, a broken 
and despised toy. 

" Orlando? " went up in a shriek. " Orlando? " 

Oh, for a ray of light in those far-off heavens! 
For a lull in the tremendous sounds shivering the 
heavens and shaking the earth 1 But the tempest 
rages on, and they can only wait, five minutes, ten 
minutes, looking, hoping, fearing, without thought of 
self and almost without thought of each other, till 
suddenly as it had come, the rain ceases and the wind, 
with one final wail of rage and defeat, rushes away 
into the west, leaving behind it a sudden silence which, 
to their terrified hearts, seems almost more dreadful 
to bear than the accumulated noises of the moment 
just gone. 

Orlando was in that shout of natural forces, but he 
is not in this stillness. They look aloft, but the 
heavens are void. Emptiness is where life was. Os- 
wald begins to sway, and Doris, remembering him 
now and him only, has thrown her strong young arm 
about him, when What is this sound they hear 
high up, high up, in the rapidly clearing vault of 


the heavens 1 A throb a steady pant, drawing 
near and yet nearer, entering the circlet of great 
branches over their heads descending, slowly de- 
scending, till they catch another glimpse of those 
hazy outlines which had no sooner taken shape than 
the car disappeared from their sight within the el- 
liptical wall open to receive it. 

It had survived the gale! It has re-entered its 
haven, and that, too, without colliding with aught 
around or any shock to those within, just as Orlando 
had promised; and the world was henceforth his! 
Hail to Orlando Brotherson! 

Oswald could hardly restrain his mad joy and en- 
thusiasm. Bounding to the door separating him 
from this conqueror of almost invincible forces, he 
pounded it with impatient fist. 

" Let me in ! " he cried. " You've done the trick, 
Orlando, you've done the trick." 

' Yes, I have satisfied myself," came back in 
studied self-control from the other side of the door; 
and with a quick turning of the lock, Orlando stood 
before them. 

They never forgot him as he looked at that mo- 
ment. He was drenched, battered, palpitating with 
excitement; but the majesty of success was in his 
eye and in the bearing of his incomparable figure. 

As Oswald bounded towards him, he reached out 
his hand, but his glance was for Doris. 

' Yes," he went on, in tones of suppressed elation, 
" there's no flaw in my triumph. I have done all that 
I set out to do. Now " 

Why did he stop and look hurriedly back into the 


hangar? He had remembered Sweetwater, Sweet- 
water, who at that moment was stepping carefully 
from his seat in some remote portion of the car. 
The triumph was not complete. He had meant 
But there his thought stopped. Nothing of evil, 
nothing even of regret should mar his great hour. 
He was a conqueror, and it was* for him now to reap 
the joy of conquest. 



THREE days had passed, and Orlando Brotherson sat 
in his room at the hotel before a table laden with 
telegrams, letters and marked newspapers. The 
news of his achievement had gone abroad, and 
Derby was, for the moment, the centre of interest 
for two continents. 

His success was an established fact. The second 
trial which he had made with his car, this time with 
the whole town gathered together in the streets as 
witnesses, had proved not only the reliability of its 
mechanism, but the great advantages which it pos- 
sessed for a direct flight to any given point. Already 
he saw Fortune beckoning to him in the shape of an 
unconditional offer of money from a first-class source ; 
and better still, for he was a man of untiring 
energy and boundless resource that opportunity for 
new and enlarged effort which comes with the recog- 
nition of one's exceptional powers. 

All this was his and more. A sweeter hope, a 
more enduring joy had followed hard upon gratified 
ambition. Doris had smiled on him; Doris! 
She had caught the contagion of the universal en- 
thusiasm and had given him her first ungrudging 
token of approval. It had altered his whole outlook 
on life in an instant, for there was an eagerness in 
this demonstration which proclaimed the relieved 


NIGHT 327 

heart. She no longer trusted either appearances or 
her dream. He had succeeded in conquering her 
doubts by the very force of his personality, and the 
shadow which had hitherto darkened their intercourse 
had melted quite away. She was ready to take his 
word now and Oswald's, after which the rest must 
follow. Love does not lag far behind an ardent ad- 

Famel Fortune! Love! What more could a 
man desire? What more could this man, with his 
strenuous past and an unlimited capacity for an en- 
larged future, ask from fate than this. Yet, as he 
bends over his letters, fingering some, but reading 
none beyond a line or two, he betrays but a passing 
elation, and hardly lifts his head when a burst of 
loud acclaim comes ringing up to his window from 
some ardent passer-by : " Hurrah for Brotherson ! 
He has put our town on the map ! " 

Why this despondency? Have those two demons 
seized him again? It would seem so and with new 
and overmastering fury. After the hour of triumph 
comes the hour of reckoning. Orlando Brotherson 
in his hour of proud attainment stands naked before 
his own soul's tribunal and the pleader is dumb and 
the judge inexorable. There is but one Witness to 
such struggles ; but one eye to note the waste and deso- 
lation of the devastated soul, when the storm is over- 

Orlando Brotherson has succumbed; the attack was 
too keen, his forces too shaken. But as the heavy 
minutes pass, he slowly re-gathers his strength and 
rises, in the end, a conqueror. Nevertheless, he 


knows, even in that moment of regained command, 
that the peace he had thus bought with strain and 
stress is but momentary; that the battle is on for life : 
that the days which to other eyes would carry a sense 
of brilliancy days teeming with work and outward 
satisfaction would hold within their hidden depths 
a brooding uncertainty which would rob applause of 
its music and even overshadow the angel face of Love. 

He quailed at the prospect, materialist though he 
was. The days the interminable days ! In his 
unbroken strength and the glare of the noonday sun, 
he forgot to take account of the nights looming in 
black and endless procession before him. It was 
from the day phantom he shrank, and not from the 
ghoul which works in the darkness and makes a grave 
of the heart while happier mortals sleep. 

And the former terror seemed formidable enough 
to him in this his hour of startling realisation, even 
if he had freed himself for the nonce from its con- 
trolling power. To escape all further contemplation 
of it he would work. These letters deserved atten- 
tion. He would carry them to Oswald, and in their 
consideration find distraction for the rest of the day, 
at least. Oswald was a good fellow. If pleasure 
were to be gotten from these tokens of good-will, 
he should have his share of it. A gleam of Os- 
wald's old spirit in Oswald's once bright eye, would 
go far towards throttling one of those demons whose 
talons he had just released from his throat; and 
if Doris responded too, he would deserve his fate, if 
he did not succeed in gaining that mastery of himself 
which would make such hours as these but episodes in 

NIGHT 329 

a life big with interest and potent with great emo- 

Rising with a resolute air, he made a bundle of his 
papers and, with them in hand, passed out of his room 
and down the hotel stairs. 

A man stood directly in his way, as he made for the 
front door. It was Mr. Challoner. 

Courtesy demanded some show of recognition be- 
tween them, and Brotherson was passing with his 
usual cold bow, when a sudden impulse led him to 
pause and meet the other's eye, with the sarcastic re- 

' You have expressed, or so I have been tld, some 
surprise at my choice of mechanician. A man of 
varied accomplishments, Mr. Challoner, but one for 
whom I have no further use. If, therefore, you 
wish to call off your watch-dog, you are at liberty to 
do so. I hardly think he can be serviceable to either 
of us much longer." 

The older gentleman hesitated, seeking possibly 
for composure, and when he answered it was not only 
without irony but with a certain forced respect : 

" Mr. Sweetwater has just left for New York, Mr. 
Brotherson. He will carry with him, no doubt, the 
full particulars of your great success." 

Orlando bowed, this time with distinguished grace. 
Not a flicker of relief had disturbed the calm serenity 
of his aspect, yet when a moment later, he stepped 
among his shouting admirers in the street, his air 
and glance betrayed a bounding joy for which another 
source must be found than that of gratified pride. 
A chain had slipped from his spirit, and though the 


people shrank a little, even while they cheered, it was 
rather from awe of his bearing and the recognition of 
that sense of apartness which underlay his smile than 
from any perception of the man's real nature or of 
the awesome purpose which at that moment exalted 
it. But had they known could they have seen into 
this tumultuous heart what a silence would have 
settled upon these noisy streets; and in what terror 
and soul-confusion would each man have slunk away 
from his fellows into the quiet and solitude of his 
own home. 

Brotherson himself was not without a sense of the 
incongruity underlying this ovation ; for, as he slowly 
worked himself along, the brightness of his look be- 
came dimmed with a tinge of sarcasm which in its 
turn gave way to an expression of extreme melan- 
choly both quite unbefitting the hero of the hour 
in the first flush of his new-born glory. Had he 
seen Doris' youthful figure emerge for a moment 
from the vine-hung porch he was approaching, 
bringing with it some doubt of the reception awaiting 
him? Possibly, for he made a stand before he 
reached the house, and sent his followers back; after 
which he advanced with an unhurrying step, so that 
several minutes elapsed before he finally drew up be- 
fore Mr. Scott's door and entered through the now 
empty porch into his brother's sitting-room. 

He had meant to see Doris first, but his mind had 
changed. If all passed off well between himself and 
Oswald, if he found his brother responsive and wide- 
awake to the interests and necessities of the hour, 
he might forego his interview with her till he felt 

NIQHT 331 

better prepared to meet it. For call it cowardice or 
simply a reasonable precaution, any delay seemed 
preferable to him in his present mood of discourage- 
ment, to that final casting of the die upon which hung 
so many and such tremendous issues. It was the first 
moment of real halt in his whole tumultuous life! 
Never, as daring experimentalist or agitator, had he 
shrunk from danger seen or unseen or from threat 
uttered or unuttered, as he shrank from this young 
girl's no; and something of the dread he had felt lest 
he should encounter her unaware in the hall and so 
be led on to speak when his own judgment bade him 
be silent, darkened his features as he entered his 
brother's presence. 

But Oswald was sunk in a bitter revery of his own, 
and took no heed of these signs of depression. In 
the re-action following these days of great excitement, 
the past had re-asserted itself, and all was gloom in 
his once generous soul. This, Orlando had time to 
perceive, quick as the change came when his brother 
really realised who his visitor was. The glad " Or- 
lando! " and the forced smile did not deceive him, 
and his voice quavered a trifle as he held out his 
packet with the words: 

" I have come to show you what the world says 
of my invention. We will soon be great men," he 
emphasised, as Oswald opened the letters. " Money 
has been offered me and Read! read! " he urged, 
with an unconscious dictatorialness, as Oswald paused 
in his task. " See what the fates have prepared for 
us; for you shall share all my honours, as you will 
from this day share my work and enter into all my 


experiments. Cannot you enthuse a little bit over 
it? Doesn't the prospect contain any allurement for 
you? Would you rather stay locked up in this 
petty town " 

"Yes; or die. Don't look like that, Orlando. 
It was a cowardly speech and I ask your pardon. 
I'm hardly fit to talk to-day. Edith " 

Orlando frowned. 

" Not that name ! " he harshly interrupted. 
" You must not hamper your life with useless memo- 
ries. That dream of yours may be sacred, but it be- 
longs to the past, and a great reality confronts you. 
When you have fully recovered your health, your own 
manhood will rebel at a weakness unworthy one of 
our name. Rouse yourself, Oswald. Take ac- 
count of our prospects. Give me your hand and say, 
' Life holds something for me yet. I have a brother 
who needs me if I do not need him. Together, we 
can prove ourselves invincible and wrench fame and 
fortune from the world.' ' 

But the hand he reached for did not rise at his 
command, though Oswald started erect and faced him 
with manly earnestness. 

" I should have to think long and deeply," he said, 
" before I took upon myself responsibilities like these. 
I am broken in mind and heart, Orlando, and must 
remain so till God mercifully delivers me. I should 
be a poor assistant to you a drag, rather than a 
help. Deeply as I deplore it, hard as it may be for 
one of your temperament to understand so complete 
an overthrow, I yet must acknowledge my condition 
and pray you not to count upon me in any plans you 


may form. I know hov/ this looks I know that 
as your brother and truest admirer, I should respond, 
and respond strongly, to such overtures as these, but 
the motive for achievement is gone. She was my 
all ; and while I might work, it would be mechanically. 
The lift, the elevating thought is gone." 

Orlando stood a moment studying his brother's 
face; then he turned shortly about and walked the 
length of the room. When he came back, he took 
up his stand again directly before Oswald, and asked, 
with a new note in his voice: 

" Did you love Edith Challoner so much as that? " 

A glance from Oswald's eye, sadder than any tear. 

" So that you cannot be reconciled? " 

A gesture. Oswald's words were always few. 

Orlando's frown deepened. 

" Such grief I partly understand," said he. " But 
time will cure it. Some day another lovely face " 

" We'll not talk of that, Orlando." 

" No, we'll not talk of that," acquiesced the in- 
ventor, walking away again, this time to the window. 
"For you there's but one woman; and she's a 

" Killed 1 " broke from his brother's lips. " Slain 
by her own hand under an impulse of wildness and 
terror! Can I ever forget that? Do not expect it, 

" Then you do blame me? " Orlando turned and 
was looking full at Oswald. 

" I blame your unreasonableness and your over- 
weening pride." 

Orlando stood a moment, then moved towards the 


door. The heaviness of his step smote upon Os- 
wald's ear and caused him to exclaim : 

" Forgive me, Orlando." But the other cut him 
short with an imperative : 

" Thanks for your candour! If her spirit is des- 
tined to stand like an immovable shadow between 
you and me, you do right to warn me. But this in- 
terview must end all allusion to the subject. I will 
seek and find another man to share my fortunes; 
(as he said this he approached suddenly, and took 
his papers from the other's hand) or " Here he 
hastily retraced his steps to the door which he softly 
opened. " Or " he repeated But though Oswald 
listened for the rest, it did not come. While he 
waited, the other had given him one deeply concen- 
trated look and passed out. 

No heartfelt understanding was possible between 
these two men. 

Crossing the hall, Orlando knocked at the door of 
Doris' little sitting-room. 

No answer, yet she was there. He knew it in 
every throbbing fibre of his body. She was there and 
quite aware of his presence; of this he felt sure; yet 
she did not bid him enter. Should he knock again? 
Never! but he would not quit the threshold, not if 
she kept him waiting there for hours. Perhaps she 
realised this. Perhaps she had meant to open the 
door to him from the very first, who can tell ? What 
avails is that she did ultimately open it, and he, meet- 
ing her soft eye, wished from his very heart that his 
impulse had led him another way, even if that way 
had been to the edge of the precipice and over. 

NIGHT 335 

For the face he looked upon was serene, and there 
was no serenity in him; rather a confusion of un- 
loosed passions fearful of barrier and yearning tu- 
multuously for freedom. But, whatever his revolt, 
the secret revolt which makes no show in look or 
movement, he kept his ground and forced a smile of 
greeting. If her face was quiet, it was also lovely; 

too lovely, he felt, for a man to leave it, whatever 
might come of his lingering. 

Nothing in all his life had ever affected him like it. 
For him there was no other woman in the past, the 
present or the future, and, realising this taking in 
to the full what her affection and her trust might be 
to him in those fearsome days to come, he so dreaded 
a rebuff he, who had been the courted of women 
and the admired of men ever since he could remem- 
ber, that he failed to respond to her welcome and 
the simple congratulations she felt forced to repeat. 
He could neither speak the commonplace, nor listen 
to it. This was his crucial hour. He must find sup- 
port here, or yield hopelessly to the maelstrom in 
whose whirl he was caught. 

She saw his excitement and faltered back a step 

a move which she regretted the next minute, for 
he took advantage of it to enter and close behind 
him the door which she would never have shut of 
her own accord. Then he spoke, abruptly, passion- 
ately, but in those golden tones which no emotion 
could render other than alluring: 

" I am an unhappy man, Miss Scott. I see that 
my presence here is not welcome, yet am sure that it 
would be so if it were not for a prejudice which your 


generous nature should be the first to cast aside, in 
face of the outspoken confidence of my brother Os- 
wald. Doris, little Doris, I love you. I have loved 
you from the moment of our first meeting. Not to 
many men is it given to find his heart so late, and 
when he does, it is for his whole life; no second pas- 
sion can follow it. I know that I am premature in 
saying this; that you are not prepared to hear such 
words from me and that it might be wiser for me to 
withhold them, but I must leave Derby soon, and I 
cannot go until I know whether there is the least 
hope that you will yet lend a light to my career 
or whether that career must burn itself to ashes at 
your feet. Oswald nay, hear me out Oswald 
lives in his memories; but I must have an active hope 
a tangible expectation if I am to be the man I 
was meant to be. Will you, then, coldly dismiss me, 
or will you let my whole future life prove to you the 
innocence of my past? I will not hasten anything; 
all I ask is some indulgence. Time will do the rest." 

" Impossible," she murmured. 

But that was a word for which he had no ear. He 
saw that she was moved, unexpectedly so; that while 
her eyes wandered restlessly at times towards the 
door, they ever came back in girlish wonder, if not 
fascination, to his face, emboldening him so that he 
ventured at last, to add : 

" Doris, little Doris, I will teach you a marvellous 
lesson, if you will only turn your dainty ear my 
way. Love such as mine carries infinite treasure 
with it. Will you have that treasure heaped, piled 
before your feet? Your lips say no, but your eyes 

NIGHT 337 

the truest eyes I ever saw whisper a different 
language. The day will come when you will find 
your joy in the breast of him you are now afraid to 
trust." And not waiting for disclaimer or even a 
glance of reproach from the eyes he had so wilfully 
misread, he withdrew with a movement as abrupt as 
that with which he had entered. 

Why, then, with the memory of this exultant hour 
to fend off all shadows, did the midnight find him in 
his solitary hangar in the moonlit woods, a deeply 
desponding figure again. Beside him, swung the 
huge machine which represented a life of power and 
luxury; but he no longer saw it. It called to him 
with many a creak and quiet snap, sounds to start 
his blood and fire his eye a week nay, a day ago. 
But he was deaf to this music now; the call went un- 
heeded; the future had no further meaning for him, 
nor did he know or think whether he sat in light or in 
darkness; whether the woods were silent about him, 
or panting with life and sound. His demon had 
gripped him again and the final battle was on. There 
would never be another. Mighty as he felt himself 
to be, there were limits even to his capacity for en- 
durance. He could sustain no further conflict. How 
then would it end? He never had a doubt himself I 
Yet he sat there. 

Around him in the forest, the night owls screeched 
and innumerable small things without a name, skur- 
ried from lair to lair. 

He heard them not. 

Above, the moon rode, flecking the deepest shad- 
ows with the silver from her half-turned urn, but 


none of the soft and healing drops fell upon him. 
Nature was no longer a goddess, but an avenger; 
light a revealer, not a solace. Darkness the only 

Nor had time a meaning. From early eve to early 
morn he sat there and knew not if it were one hour 
or twelve. Earth was his no longer. He roused, 
when the sun made everything light about him, but 
he did not think about it. He rose, but was not con- 
scious that he rose. He unlocked the door and 
stepped out into the forest; but he could never re- 
member doing this. He only knew later that he 
had been in the woods and now was in his room at 
the hotel; all the rest was phantasmagoria, agony 
and defeat. 

He had crossed the Rubicon of this world's hopes 
and fears, but he had been unconscious of the pas- 



" Dear Mr. C hall oner: 

" With every apology for the intrusion, may I request 
a few minutes of private conversation with you this evening 
at seven o'clock? Let it be in your own room. 

" Yours truly, 

Mr. Challoner had been called upon to face many 
difficult and heartrending duties since the blow which 
had desolated his home fell upon him. 

But from none of them had he shrunk as he did 
from the interview thus demanded. He had sup- 
posed himself rid of this man. He had dismissed 
him from his life when he had dismissed Sweetwater. 
His face, accordingly, wore anything but a propitia- 
tory look, when promptly at the hour of seven, Or- 
lando Brotherson entered his apartments. 

His pleasure or his displeasure was, however, a 
matter of small consequence to his self-invited visitor. 
He had come there with a set purpose, and nothing in 
heaven or earth could deter him from it now. De- 
clining the offer of a seat, with the slightest of ac- 
knowledgements in the way of a bow, he took a care- 
ful survey of the room before saying: 

" Are we alone, Mr. Challoner, or is that man 
Sweetwater lurking somewhere within hearing?" 

" Mr. Sweetwater is gone, as I had the honour of 



telling you yesterday," was the somewhat stiff reply. 
" There are no witnesses to this conference, if that is 
what you wish to know." 

' Thank you, but you will pardon my insistence if 
I request the privilege of closing that door." He 
pointed to the one communicating with the bedroom. 
" The information I have to give you is not such as I 
am willing to have shared, at least for the present." 

' You may close the door," said Mr. Challoner 
coldly. " But is it necessary for you to give me the 
information you mention, to-night? If it is of such a 
nature that you cannot accord me the privilege of 
sharing it, as yet, with others, why not spare me till 
you can? I have gone through much, Mr. Brother- 

' You have," came in steady assent as the man 
thus addressed stepped to the door he had indicated 
and quietly closed it. " But," he continued, as he 
crossed back to his former position, " would it be 
easier for you to go through the night now in antici- 
pation of what I have to reveal than to hear it at 
once from my lips while I am in the mood to speak? " 

The answer was slow in coming. The courage 
which had upheld this rapidly aging man through so 
many trying interviews, seemed inadequate for the 
test put so cruelly upon it. He faltered and sank 
heavily into a chair, while the stern man watching 
him, gave no signs of responsive sympathy or even 
interest, only a patient and icy-tempered resolve. 

" I cannot live in uncertainty; " such were finally 
Mr. Challoner's words. " What you have to say 
concerns Edith?" The pause he made was infini- 


tesimal in length, but it was long enough for a quick 
disclaimer. But no such disclaimer came. " I will 
hear it," came in reluctant finish. 

Mr. Brotherson took a step forward. His man- 
ner was as cold as the heart which lay like a stone in 
his bosom. 

; ' Will you pardon me if I ask you to rise? " said 
he. " I have my weaknesses too. (He gave no 
sign of them.) " I cannot speak down from such a 
height to the man I am bound to hurt." 

As if answering to the constraint of a will quite 
outside his own, Mr. Challoner rose. Their heads 
were now more nearly on a level and Mr. Brother- 
son's voice remained low, as he proceeded, with quiet 
intensity : 

" There has been a time and it may exist yet, 
God knows when you thought me in some un- 
known and secret way the murderer of your daugh- 
ter. I do not quarrel with the suspicion; it was justi- 
fied, Mr. Challoner. I did kill your daughter, and 
with this hand ! I can no longer deny it." 

The wretched father swayed, following the gesture 
of the hand thus held out; but he did not fall, nor did 
a sound leave his lips. 

Brotherson went coldly on : 

" I did it because I regarded her treatment of my 
suit as insolent. I have no mercy for any such dis- 
play of intolerance on the part of the rich and the 
fortunate. I hated her for it; I hated her class, 
herself and all she stood for. To strike the dealer 
of such a hurt I felt to be my right. Though a man 
of small beginnings and of a stock which such as you 


call common, I have a pride which few of your blood 
can equal. I could not work, or sleep or eat with 
such a sting in my breast as she had planted there. 
To rid myself of it, I determined to kill her, and I 
did. How? Oh, that was easy, though it has 
proved a great stumbling-block to the detectives, as I 
knew it would ! I shot her but not with an ordi- 
nary bullet. My charge was a small icicle made de- 
liberately for the purpose. It had strength enough 
to penetrate, but it left no trace behind it. ' A bullet 
of ice for a heart of ice,' I had said in the torment 
of my rage. But the word was without knowledge, 
Mr. Challoner. I see it now; I have seen it for 
two whole weeks. I did not misjudge her condem- 
nation of me, but I misjudged its cause. It was 
not to the comparatively poor, the comparatively 
obscure man she sought to show contempt, but to 
the brother of Oswald whose claims she saw in- 
sulted. A woman I should have respected, not 
killed. A woman of no pride of station; a woman 
who loved a man not only of my own class but of my 
own blood a woman, to avenge whose unmerited 
death I stand here before you a self-condemned crim- 
inal. That is but justice, Mr. Challoner. That is 
the way I look at things. Though no sentimentalist; 
and dead to all beliefs save the eternal truths of 
science, I have that in me which will not let me profit, 
now that I know myself unworthy, by the great suc- 
cess I have earned. Hence this confession, Mr. 
Challoner. It has not come easily, nor do I shut my 
eyes in the least to the results which must follow. 
But I can not do differently. To-morrow, you may 


telegraph to New York. Till then I desire to be 
left undisturbed. I have many things to dispose of 
in the interim." 

Mr. Challoner, very white by now, pointed to the 
door before he sank again into his chair. Brother- 
son took it for dismissal and stepped slowly back. 
Then their eyes met again and Mr. Challoner spoke 
his first word : 

" There was another a poor woman she 
died suddenly and her wound was not unlike that 
inflicted upon Edith. Did you " 

" I did." The answer came without a tremour. 
" You may say and so may others that I was less 
justified in this attack than in the other; but I do not 
see it that way. A theory does not always work in 
practice. I wished to test the unusual means I con- 
templated, and the woman I saw before me across the 
court was hard-working and with nothing in life to 
look forward to, so " 

A cry of bitter execration from Mr. Challoner cut 
him short. Turning with a shrug he was about to 
lift his hand to the door, when he gave a violent start 
and fell hastily back before a quickly entering figure 
of such passion and fury as neither of these men had 
ever seen before. 

It was Oswald! Oswald, the kindly! Oswald, 
the lover of men and the adorer of women ! Oswald, 
with the words of the dastardly confession he had 
partly overheard searing hot within his brain ! Os- 
wald, raised in a moment from the desponding 
invalid to a terrifying ministrant of retributive 


Orlando could scarcely raise his hand before the 
other's was upon his throat. 

" Murderer! doubly-dyed murderer of innocent 
women ! " was hissed in the strong man's ears. " Not 
with the law but with me you must reckon, and may 
God and the spirit of my mother nerve my arm ! " 



THE struggle was fierce but momentary. Oswald 
with his weakened powers could not long withstand 
the steady exertion of Orlando's giant strength, and 
ere long sank away from the contest into Mr. Chal- 
loner's arms. 

' You should not have summoned the shade of our 
mother to your aid," observed the other with a smile, 
in which the irony was lost in terrible presage. u I 
was always her favourite." 

Oswald shuddered. Orlando had spoken truly; 
she had always been blindly, arrogantly trustful of her 
eldest son. No fault could she see in him; and 

Impetuously Oswald struggled with his weakness, 
raised himself in Mr. Challoner's arms and cried in 
loud revolt: 

" But God is just. He will not let you escape. 
If He does, I will not. I will hound you to the ends 
of this earth and, if necessary, into the eternities. 
Not with the threat of my arm you are my master 
there, but with the curse of a brother who believed 
you innocent of his darling's blood and would have 
believed you so in face of everything but your own 

"Peace!" adjured Orlando. "There is no ac- 
count I am not ready to settle. I have robbed you 



of the woman you love, but I have despoiled myself. 
I stand desolate in the world, who but an hour ago 
could have chosen my seat among the best and great- 
est. What can your curses do after that? " 

" Nothing." The word came slowly like a drop 
wrung from a nearly spent heart. " Nothing ; noth- 
ing. Oh, Orlando, I wish we were both dead and 
buried and that there were no further life for either 
of us." 

The softened tone, the wistful prayer which would 
blot out an immortality of joy for the one, that it 
might save the other from an immortality of retribu- 
tion, touched some long unsounded chord in Orlan- 
do's extraordinary nature. 

Advancing a step, he held out his hand the left 
one. ' We'll leave the future to itself, Oswald, and 
do what we can with the present," said he. " I've 
made a mess of my life and spoiled a career which 
might have made us both kings. Forgive me, Os- 
wald. I ask for nothing else from God or man. I 
should like that. It would strengthen me for to-mor- 

But Oswald, ever kindly, generous and more ready 
to think of others than of himself, had yet some of 
Orlando's tenacity. He gazed at that hand and a 
flush swept up over his cheek which instantly became 
ghastly again. 

"I cannot," said he "not even the left one. 
May God forgive me ! " 

Orlando, struck silent for a moment, dropped his 
hand and slowly turned away. Mr. Challoner felt 
Oswald stiffen in his arms, and break suddenly away, 


only to stop short before he had taken one of the half 
dozen steps between himself and his departing 

' Where are you going? " he demanded in tones 
which made Orlando turn. 

" I might say, To the devil," was the sarcastic 
reply. " But I doubt if he would receive me. No," 
he added, in more ordinary tones as the other shiv- 
ered and again started forward, " you will have no 
trouble in finding me in my own room to-night. I 
have letters to write and other things. A man 
like me cannot drop out without a ripple. You may 
go -to bed and sleep. I will keep awake for two." 

" Orlando ! " Visions were passing before Os- 
wald's eyes, soul-crushing visions such as in his blame- 
less life he never thought could enter into his con- 
sciousness or blast his tranquil outlook upon life. 
" Orlando ! " he again appealed, covering his eyes in 
a frenzied attempt to shut out these horrors, " I can- 
not let you go like this. To-morrow " 

" To-morrow, in every niche and corner of this 
world, wherever Edith Challoncr's name has gone, 
wherever my name has gone, it will be known that the 
discoverer of a practical air-ship, is a man whom they 
can no longer honour. Do you think that is not hell 
enough for me; or that I do not realise the hell it will 
be for you? I've never wearied you or any man with 
my affection; but I'm not all demon. I would gladly 
have spared you this additional anguish; but that was 
impossible. You are my brother and must suffer 
from the connection whether we would have it so or 
not. If it promises too much misery and I know 


no misery like that of shame come with me where 
I go to-morrow. There will be room for two." 

Oswald, swaying with weakness, but maddened by 
the sight of an overthrow which carried with it the 
stifled affections and the admiration of his whole life, 
gave a bound forward, opened his arms and fell. 

Orlando stopped short. Gazing down on his 
prostrate brother, he stood for a moment with a 
gleam of something like human tenderness showing 
through the flare of dying passions and perishing 
hopes; then he swung open the door and passed 
quietly out, and Mr. Challoner could hear the laugh- 
ing remark with which he met and dismissed -the 
half-dozen men and women who had been drawn to 
this end of the hall by what had sounded to them like 
a fracas between angry men. 



THE clock in the hotel office struck three. Orlando 
Brotherson counted the strokes; then went on writ- 
ing. His transom was partly open and he had just 
heard a step go by his door. This was nothing new. 
He had already heard it several times before that 
night. It was Mr. Challoner's step, and every time 
it passed, he had rustled his papers or scratched vigor- 
ously with his pen. " He is keeping watch for Os- 
wald," was his thought. " They fear a sudden end 
to this. No one, not the son of my mother knows 
me. Do I know myself ? " 

Four o'clock I The light was still burning, the pile 
of letters he was writing increasing. 

Five o'clock 1 A rattling shade betrays an open 
window. No other sound disturbs the quiet of the 
room. It is empty now; but Mr. Challoner, long 
since satisfied that all was well, goes by no more. 
Silence has settled upon the hotel; that heavy 
silence which precedes the dawn. 

There was silence in the streets also. The few who 
were abroad, crept quietly along. An electric storm 
was in the air and the surcharged clouds hung heavy 
and low, biding the moment of outbreak. A man 
who had left a place of many shadows for the more 
open road, paused and looked up at these clouds; then 
went calmly on. 



Suddenly the shriek of an approaching train tears 
through the valley. Has it a call for this man? 
No. Yet he pauses in the midst of the street he is 
crossing and watches, as a child might watch, for the 
flash >of its lights at the end of the darkened vista. 
It comes filling the empty space at which he stares 
with moving life engine, baggage car and a long 
string of Pullmans. Then all is dark again and only 
the noise of its slackening wheels comes to him 
through the night. It has stopped at the station. A 
minute longer and it has started again, and the quickly 
lessening rumble of its departure is all that remains 
of this vision of man's activity and ceaseless expect- 
ancy. When it is quite gone and all is quiet, a sigh 
falls from the man's lips and he moves on, but this 
time, for some unexplainable reason, in the direction 
of the station. With lowered head he passes along, 
noting little till he arrives within sight of the depot 
where some freight is being handled, and a trunk or 
two wheeled down the platform. No sight could be 
more ordinary or unsuggestive, but it has its attraction 
for him, for he looks up as he goes by and follows 
the passage of that truck down the platform till it 
has reached the corner and disappeared. Then he 
sighs again and again moves on. 

A cluster of houses, one of them open and lighted, 
was all which lay between him now and the country 
road. He was hurrying past, for his step had un- 
consciously quickened as he turned his back upon the 
station, when he was seized again by that mood of 
curiosity and stepped up to the door from which a 
light issued and looked in. A common eating-room 


lay before him, with rudely spread tables and one 
very sleepy waiter taking orders from a new arrival 
who sat with his back to the door. Why did the 
lonely man on the sidewalk start as his eye fell on the 
latter's commonplace figure, a hungry man demand- 
ing breakfast in a cheap, country restaurant? His 
own physique was powerful while that of the other 
looked slim and frail. But fear was in the air, and 
the brooding of a tempest affects some temperaments 
in a totally unexpected manner. As the man inside 
turns slightly and looks up, the master figure on the 
sidewalk vanishes, and his step, if any one had been 
interested enough to listen, rings with a new note as 
it turns into the country road it has at last reached. 

But no one heeded. The new arrival munches his 
roll and waits impatiently for his coffee, while with- 
out, the clouds pile soundlessly in the sky, one of them 
taking the form of a huge hand with clutching fingers 
reaching down into the hollow void beneath. 



MR. CHALLONER had been honest in his statement 
regarding the departure of Sweetwater. He had not 
only paid and dismissed our young detective, but he 
had seen him take the train for New York. And 
Sweetwater had gone away in good faith, too, possibly 
with his convictions undisturbed, but acknowledging 
at last that he had reached the end of his resources. 
But the brain does not loose its hold upon its work as 
readily as the hand does. He was halfway to New 
York and had consciously bidden farewell to the 
whole subject, when he suddenly startled those about 
him by rising impetuously to his feet. He sat again 
immediately, but with a light in his small grey eye 
which Mr. Gryce would have understood and rev- 
elled in. The idea for which he had searched in- 
dustriously for months had come at last, unbidden; 
thrown up from some remote recess of the mind which 
had seemingly closed upon the subject forever. 

" I have it. I have it," he murmured in ceaseless 
reiteration to himself. " I will go back to Mr. Chal- 
loner and let him decide if the idea is worth pursuing. 
Perhaps an experiment may be necessary. It was 
bitter cold that night; I wish it were icy weather now. 
But a chemist can help us out. Good God! if this 
should be the explanation of the mystery, alas for 
Orlando and alas for Oswald ! " 


AT SIX 353 

But his sympathies did not deter him. He re- 
turned to Derby at once, and as soon as he dared, 
presented himself at the hotel and asked for Mr. Chal- 

He was amazed to find that gentleman already up 
and in a state of agitation that was very disquieting. 
But he brightened wonderfully at sight of his visitor, 
and drawing him inside the room, observed with 
trembling eagerness: 

" I do not know why you have come back, but 
never was man more welcome. Mr. Brotherson has 
confessed " 

" Confessed! " 

' Yes, he killed both women ; my daughter and his 
neighbour, the washerwoman, with a " 

" Wait," broke in Sweetwater, eagerly, " let me 
tell you." And stooping, he whispered something in 
the other's ear. 

Mr. Challoner stared at him amazed, then slowly 
nodded his head. 

" How came you to think " he began ; but 
Sweetwater in his great anxiety interrupted him with 
a quick: 

" Explanations will keep, Mr. Challoner. What 
of the man himself? Where is he? That's the im- 
portant thing now." 

" He was in his room till early this morning writ- 
ing letters, but he is not there now. The door is 
unlocked and I went in. From appearances I fear 
the worst. That is why your presence relieves me 
so. Where do you think he is? " 


" In his hangar in the woods. Where else would 
he go to " 

" I have thought of that. Shall we start out alone 
or take witnesses with us ? " 

" We will go alone. Does Oswald anticipate " 

" He is sure. But he lacks strength to move. He 
lies on my bed in there. Doris and her father are 
with him." 

" We will not wait a minute. How the storm 
holds off. I hope it will hold off for another hour." 

Mr. Challoner made no reply. He had spoken 
because he felt compelled to speak, but it had not 
been easy for him, nor could any trifles move him 

The town was up by this time and, though they 
chose the least frequented streets, they had to suffer 
from some encounters. It was a good half hour be- 
fore they found themselves in the forest and in sight 
of the hangar. One look that way, and Sweet- 
water turned to see what the effect was upon Mr. 

A murmur of dismay greeted him. The oval of 
that great lid stood up against the forest background. 

" He has escaped," cried Mr. Challoner. 

But Sweetwater, laying a finger on his lip, ad- 
vanced and laid his ear against the door. Then he 
cast a quick look aloft. Nothing was to be seen 
there. The darkness of storm in the heavens but 
nothing more. Yes ! now, a flash of vivid and de- 
structive lightning ! 

The two men drew back and their glances crossed. 

AT SIX 355 

" Let us return to the highroad," whispered 
Sweetwater; " we can see nothing here." 

Mr. Challoner, trembling very much, wheeled 
slowly about. 

' Wait," enjoined Sweetwater. " First let me 
take a look inside." 

Running to the nearest tree, he quickly climbed it, 
worked himself along a protruding branch and 
looked down into the open hangar. It was now so 
dark that details escaped him, but one thing was cer- 
tain. The air-ship was not there. 

Descending, he drew Mr. Challoner hastily along. 
" He's gone," said he. " Let us reach the high 
ground as quickly as we can. I'm glad that Mr. Os- 
wald Brotherson is not with us or or Miss Doris." 

But this expression of satisfaction died on his lips. 
At the point where the forest road debouches into 
the highway, he had already caught a glimpse of their 
two figures. They were waiting for news, and the 
brother spoke up the instant he saw Sweetwater : 

"Where is he? You've not found him or you 
wouldn't be coming alone. He cannot have gone 
up. He cannot manage it without an assistant. We 
must seek him somewhere else; in the forest or in our 
house at home. Ah I " The lightning had forked 

" He's not in the forest and he's not in your 
home," returned Sweetwater. " He's aloft; the air- 
ship is not in the shed. And he can go up alone 
now." Then more slowly: "But he cannot come 


They strained their eyes in a maddening search 
of the heavens. But the darkness had so increased 
that they could be sure of nothing. 

Doris sank upon her knees. 

Suddenly the lightning flashed again, this time so 
vividly and so near that the whole heaven burst into 
fiery illumination above them and the thunder, crash- 
ing almost simultaneously, seemed for a moment to 
rock the world and bow the heavens towards them. 
Then a silence; then Sweetwater's whisper in Mr. 
Challoner's ear: 

" Take them away ! I saw him ; he was falling 
like a shot." 

Mr. Challoner threw out his arms, then steadied 
himself. Oswald was reeling ; Oswald had seen too. 
But Doris was there. When the lightning flashed 
again, she was standing and Oswald was weeping on 
her bosom. 


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